House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liability.

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Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise in the House today to express my concerns about the legislation respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, Bill C-10, which brings back the former bills C-8 and C-48 introduced during the 36th parliament.

Of course, I was not in the House when these bills were introduced during the 36th parliament. However, this legislation easily attracted my attention and should be studied in-depth because Quebec was among the first to ensure public access to its waterways, as it so desires.

Protection of the environment has been a constant concern for the Bloc Quebecois. I remind those listening and the government that the Bloc Quebecois supported the government when it introduced its legislation to create the Saguenay-St. Lawrence marine park in 1997. That legislation provided for the creation of the first marine conservation area of Canada.

Unfortunately, this time, we cannot support such a legislation. I will only give three reasons why the Bloc Quebecois cannot agree to this legislation.

First, in Bill C-10, instead of focusing on working together, as it did in the case of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park, the government is giving itself the right to establish marine conservation areas with no regard for Quebec's jurisdiction over its territory and environment.

Bill C-10 does not respect Quebec's territorial integrity. My colleagues from Manicouagan and Châteauguay were saying that it is under the Constitutional Act, 1867, that we have this territorial integrity. At the time, the provinces, including Quebec, were guaranteed exclusive jurisdiction over the management of crown lands.

At the same time, Quebec legislation concerning crown lands applies to all crown lands in Quebec, including the beds of waterways and lakes and the bed of the St. Lawrence river, estuary and gulf, which belong to Quebec by sovereign right.

However, according to the notes provided by Canadian heritage on this famous bill, marine conservation areas are planned for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as well as the river and estuary, three areas where the seabed comes under Quebec's jurisdiction.

This is a very clear example of federal meddling in a provincial jurisdiction. I find it terrible that, as Quebecers, we are once again subjected to provocation and lack of respect by the government, which wants to do only what it wants.

It is clear that this government is working to create almost voluntarily an explosive climate for Quebecers. It continually infringes areas exclusively under Quebec's jurisdiction and is endlessly trying to impose unreasonable legislation, whose content and effect Quebecers consider an insult to their intelligence.

There is another reason why we are not supporting this bill. Canadian heritage as is its practice all too often is proposing to put a new structure in place, the marine conservation areas, which will duplicate the marine wildlife reserves of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the marine areas of Environment Canada.

Canadian heritage has done a poor job protecting ecosystems. Its decisions will take precedence over regulations already established under the Fisheries Act, the Coastal Fisheries Act, the Canada Shipping Act, the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Aeronautics Act.

It will be readily understood that this practice can only lead to a whole raft of problems with respect to marine protected areas, marine wildlife reserves and marine conservation area with regulations for each and other regulations superimposed by Canadian heritage.

We might quote from the testimony of Patrick McGuinness, the vice-president of the Canadian Council of Fisheries, who totally opposed this initiative because it is “ineffective and encumbers the administration of public affairs”.

Third, we could talk about Canadian heritage's great achievements in protecting the ecosystems of existing national parks and its expertise in the field along with its role as leader in protecting our ecosystems.

They are far from brilliant. I will quote a few of the findings reported by the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks. This panel released a public report and urged the government to make the ecological preservation of parks a priority once again.

The same panel found that, in some national parks, the stress on the resource was so great that some species were disappearing. In Fundy park, in New Brunswick, three species have disappeared since the park was created. Only one of the 39 national parks of Parks Canada does not experience this stress. The situation is worse than what the panel of scientists expected. To make matters worse, there is a dramatic lack of scientists in national parks to evaluate ecosystems.

Allow me to doubt that Parks Canada and Canadian heritage can preserve marine conservation areas, since they do not have the minimal resources needed to protect national parks today.

A sensible and responsible government would have adopted a more logical approach, that is ensuring that only one department deals with the protection of our ecosystems and that departments involved arrive at an agreement in which they would transfer their responsibilities to the department in charge. Would that not make more sense?

In this case, I believe it would have been better to centralize all activities in one department, to give it the necessary resources to do its task and to ensure an adequate protection of marine conservation areas, administered and implemented by expert and competent people.

Moreover, the government is not only intruding unduly into provincial fields of jurisdiction—something that is extremely important for me—it is also squandering the money of Canadian and Quebec taxpayers in a tangle of complicated and endless legislative and administrative measures.

That is why the Bloc Quebecois will not support this bill. It is an act that is unrespectful of Quebec, legislation for which there has been no real consultation with stakeholders and that does not take into account the recommendations made by the government's own experts, who advised the government to solve the more urgent problems before doing anything else.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise to address the bill again. It has been in the House for quite some time, as we know.

This is Bill C-10 in its latest incarnation. Members will recall that it was Bill C-8 in a previous session. I had serious concerns with Bill C-8 and obviously concerns about this one as well. It looks like the government had some second thoughts about the bill. I am pleased to say that the government is moving in the right direction.

The bill would create four marine conservation areas representing five of the twenty-nine marine regions. I had several people in my office last year who were explaining and showing me maps of the marine regions. I know that we have national parks in the country.

I live in Alberta and we celebrate our national parks there. There is nothing more beautiful than riding a Honda GoldWing across Banff, Yoho and Jasper national parks. It is a tremendous experience. My husband Lew and I were able to do that this summer and we really enjoyed it.

If we are able to celebrate that in terms of national parks on land, we want to be able to celebrate the sea and marine heritage as well.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

An hon. member

Not on a motorbike.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Not on a motorbike, that is true. We want to be able to celebrate marine areas whether they are oceans, lakes or whatever. We have a marvellous heritage and beautiful waterways. We need to celebrate them and make sure that their safety and sanctity remain in place.

The bill would allow for the creation of future marine parks or the enlargement of existing parks by order of governor in council. Members will know that governor in council is a tremendously powerful tool. It can be used for good but it is also an amazing temptation to use for power because one does not need to mess around with all the to-do of having to go through parliament.

It is important to make sure that the House knows, accepts and endorses any changes that would take place regardless of what kind of legislation it is. We are currently working through the anti-terrorism bill after the events of September 11. We know how important it is that parliament be allowed and enabled to speak on it.

We have reservations about governor in council because we must make sure that it does not run roughshod over the democratic process.

A proposed amendment would be tabled in each House and referred to committee which would have the option of reporting back to the House. In order to defeat the proposed amendment the committee would have to report to the House that it disapproved of the amendment. If no such motion were proposed in either House after 21 sitting days the amendment could be made, thereby creating or enlarging an MCA.

It is important to bring things before the House. We are not here for the fun of it. It is not that we all love to debate although I am sure that is a characteristic most of us share. Nonetheless things should not be hived off through a backroom process and people should not whip things through. These things need to see the light of day. Canadians must be ensured that they know exactly what is going on.

The marine conservation areas could include seabeds, including the waters above them and species that occur within them, as well as wetlands, estuaries, islands and other coastal lands.

I am not a serious scuba diver. My husband and I have taken it up in the last few years and we enjoy it. How special it is to be able to appreciate not just what God has created overland and on the ocean but underneath as well. We saw some magnificent things while scuba diving in Mexico and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They were unbelievable experiences we were allowed to share and we are very grateful for them.

We are concerned about the environment and about the ecosystem under the ocean. It is essential to make sure we protect them. When I look at the bill I want to make sure that it is safe and environmentally sound for creatures under the sea, for people who will be scuba diving, and for people who will be participating on the water or underneath it.

The concern I raised related to flight and boating patterns for people flying over or boating across conservation areas. We need to ensure that the legislation takes into consideration the concerns of commercial ventures and not simply environmental issues.

There have been some technical and minor substantive changes when I compare the bill to Bill C-8. Some of my concerns and reservations have also been addressed.

Bill C-10 includes the following changes from Bill C-8 which was introduced in the second session of the 36th parliament. There is a stipulation in subclause 2(2) that nothing in the legislation would abrogate or derogate from existing aboriginal rights. Those are things that are essential as well. We want to make sure that the aboriginal communities are consulted and not just having things announced to them. We want to ensure that the ecosystem is very balanced and in place.

There is an explicit requirement in subparagraph 5(2)(b) for provincial consent in the establishment or enlargement of a national marine conservation area. That is important because the provincial governments are the level of government that is closer to the people. Then one has municipal governments which are the closest level to the people, period.

I was at the Alberta urban municipalities association government luncheon in Edmonton on Friday talking to town councillors. All members can be assured that if a sewer backs up or if a dog is barking people do not phone their member of parliament. They phone their town councillor or their county reeve, the level of government which is most closely associated with the people.

The provincial government is just one level closer. It is essential for provincial governments to be able to buy into that. That is very wise. If a federal government ever goes over the head of a provincial government it runs the risk of ostracizing people and pushing people aside. No one stands to gain anything from that.

There is an allowance in subclause 4(4) for zones for sustainable use and for high protection of special features and fragile ecosystems within these marine conservation areas. That is good as we need to have sustainable environmental controls on it.

I will comment on the whole idea of economic development. These are essential things to a commercial airline such as Harbour Air on the west coast of British Columbia. It has been flying over these areas for years. We do not want any government going to an extreme and specifying that there can no longer be commercial flights.

We need sustainable use, economical development and environmental impact studies. All these things have to go together and they should complement each other not be at odds with each other.

There is a requirement in clause 7 for an interim management plan when government tables in parliament a proposal for the establishment of a marine conservation area. We must acknowledge how important this place is to the debate and implementation of those things and how important it is that government be wide open with its intentions.

People across Canada would then feel safer, more special and consulted. They would certainly buy into with a sense of ownership and pride any matter regarding a national marine conservation area. It is not that people are against it. They are nervous about what the government will do. They have had many experiences where an order in council was brought through and a regulation happened.

It is not as if they were asked if this was all right. They were not consulted to work something through together with government. Rather there was some great pronouncement from on high that this would be the way it was. Some claim they are from the government and are there to help them. That makes people more nervous than confident.

I am pleased to see that the government made some changes. I am looking forward to making sure that the bill is not only sustainable but that it celebrates our unbelievable commitment not just to yap about it but to look after our environment, national parks and national marine conservation areas.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-10.

Bill C-10 is a rehash of two predecessors, identified at the time as Bills C-8 and C-48. This raises the following question: why did the government not pass C-8? Why did the Liberals, in their third mandate, not pass C-48?

There are a number of reasons why. In the latter case, it is because the Prime Minister decided to call a hasty election in order to catch his adversaries by surprise, particularly the new leader of the Canadian Alliance. He put vote-getting ahead of a number of bills, and this one, along with 22 others fell by the wayside. I remember, because one of those was a private member's bill on shipbuilding.

Now we are only a few weeks away from the anniversary of that election call, at which time that bill on shipbuilding had gone through all the stages, second reading, clause by clause examination in committee and report stage. All that remained was third reading, but the Prime Minister preferred to call an election. I know that my bill was not the only reason; it was primarily to gain political advantage, one might say.

There is another question. If the government had not yet passed this bill on marine conservation areas, it is certainly not because it was a priority. If it was not a priority during the two previous mandates, is it really a priority now? I doubt it. I would tend to believe that the government does not have much to offer to the House in terms of a legislative agenda while the anti-terrorism legislation is still in the planning and consultation stages. In the meantime, it gives us this bill to discuss.

As I recall, when we were dealing with Bill C-8 and Bill C-48, on each occasion I took part in the debate and spoke against those bills for the very same reasons.

We in the Bloc Quebecois often bring up the fact that there is duplication between the federal and provincial governments. This is another case in point. Under the Constitution, natural resources and public lands come under provincial jurisdiction. It is a proven fact.

Nevertheless and in spite of warnings, in spite of the opposition, and in spite of the result of botched consultations, we have this bill before us. If an independent firm were asked to report on the kind of consultations that were carried out on the bill, it would not be very likely that the same company would be hired again. The data is not conclusive.

Moreover, this duplication is, I do not know how to say this, “intrafederal”. We are talking about creating marine conservation areas which would come under the Department of Canadian Heritage, but we already have marine protection areas under the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We also have marine wildlife areas under the responsibility of the Department of the Environment.

It bears repeating: marine conservation areas, marine protection areas, and marine wildlife areas.

This, as my father would say, is a lot of hogwash. It is incomprehensible. By trying too hard to protect natural resources, the government may actually harm them, and I wonder about their motives. Apparently conservation is what they have in mind, but conservation in terms of heritage. I suppose that fish could be admired for their beauty or like any other typically Canadian item.

But these things are related and, during the consultations, people said “Yes, but there is a very distinct possibility when there is a desire to protect natural species for heritage reasons in the same areas as fisheries and ocean's marine protection areas”. But fisheries and oceans officials want there to be more fish and fisheries products to feed us, as well as provide work for people in regions such as the Gaspé or the maritimes. The Department of the Environment is also concerned because all this is very closely related.

And precisely because it is closely related, should these three kinds of areas not come under the jurisdiction of one federal body? Imagine the situation for people in Quebec or in other provinces trying to manage projects or areas under the authority of one or the other of these three departments. The federal government is in the process of inventing a weapon by which it can attack provincial jurisdictions from three different angles. One would think we were in Afghanistan, so intense is the bombardment. This will not do. It is intrafederal duplication.

The member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord is laughing, but I know that he agrees with me. He too thinks it is ridiculous. But now, he can no longer say so because he is sitting with the Liberal majority. He is obviously forced to toe the party line. But when he was on this side of the House, he was in favour. Then, he was right to support the creation of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence marine park.

Why was that a good project? Because there was an agreement between Quebec and the federal government intended not just to protect but to develop this beauty, which the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord could still develop.

I could give another example of co-operation that took place, but that is not moving as quickly as we would hope. I am referring to the St. Lawrence action plan, which concerns primarily the shores of the river. Many projects are waiting for funding and money. I saw the tremendous work done by priority intervention zones. The zone in my region is called the Zone d'interventions protégées de Chaudière-Appalaches. Several projects are waiting for money to develop and protect the environment, and to help the ecosystem.

But instead of that, what we have before us is a virtual bill, since it does not target a specific territory. This is an omnibus bill that would allow the government to get involved in jurisdictions that, again, belong to the provinces, this within a framework that does not include public lands alone, but also natural resources that belong to the provinces. This is being done after a rushed consultation process.

When we want a copy of the supposedly 300 pages on the outcome of these consultations, we are given 73. It is as if the protection of these areas were a military secret. It is almost forbidden to say where these areas will be located, as if this were a highly strategic piece of information. If this were a priority, the government would have included it the first time, in Bill C-8, and the second time, in Bill C-48. But it did not do so.

Now that things are quiet and that the government is not ready to go ahead with Bill C-36 because consultations are still going on, it is making us debate this issue in parliament.

I say that it is too bad for the Liberal government. Every time, we tell the government the same thing and say “You are getting involved in provincial jurisdictions. Instead of doing that, put money in your own jurisdictions, in national parks”.

Instead, a report from the auditor general talks about negligence and insufficient staff and funds, before adding that it is an ill-protected area. And the government wants to develop more areas. This just does not make sense.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada.

I very much enjoyed hearing the comments of my colleague from Edmonton North. She mentioned the pleasure she derived from driving her Honda GoldWing through Canada's national parks, always on the pavement though, not through the woods and trails. That would not be possible in one of Canada's new marine parks. While it would not be possible, it would not be politically advisable either to do it on a Sea-Doo or perhaps a pumpkin, but that is another story.

The legislation in general makes a great deal of sense. For generations we have recognized the importance of protecting our parklands and national parks. These have been a source of pride for Canadians, as we recognize the importance of protecting our ecosystem and our natural environment, not simply for the sustainability of that environment but also for the pleasure that we and future generations derive from that national environment.

We recognize that we have the same responsibility over our coastlines and our water areas as we have over our lands. If we compare our responsibilities up to the 200 mile limit with those responsibilities we have over our terrain, they are almost identical. It is only intuitive that we move in the direction of recognizing the importance of protecting marine conservation areas in the same way we protect our national parks in Canada.

This is particularly important as we enter an age where ecotourism is becoming increasingly important. Many people who travel to Canada and its coastlines are not coming for theme parks or shopping. However, with the Canadian dollar having been bludgeoned so consistently by this government, perhaps shopping would not be a bad alternative.

In many cases, tourists who come here from other parts of the world come because of our unique, important and very special ecosystem and environment.

We have seen many examples of bad environmental policy in Canada in the past, in part, because we have taken for granted the wealth of our natural resources. Canada has wide open spaces and much natural beauty. In many ways we have taken that for granted over the years. We have seen bad environmental policy ultimately become bad economic policy. The cost to fix some of the catastrophic effects of decades of neglect does not take into account the sanctity of our lands and our natural resources.

Canadians can be united under the vision that bad environmental policy ultimately is bad economic policy. This becomes increasingly self-evident as ecotourism becomes a more important industry in Canada. That is certainly the case in our national parks and their surrounding areas and is obviously will be the case in our marine conservation areas.

I heard some concerns expressed in the House today, including some by the member for Dewdney--Alouette who has stewarded this legislation at committee for our caucus.

Some concerns that I share are the degree to which the federal government has a habit of consistently running roughshod over provincial jurisdictional boundaries. Instead of working with the provinces or with some subnational governments in a pre-emptive way to develop legislation that fully respects the sanctity of provincial and subnational jurisdictional boundaries, the government tends to create the legislation. Then, during the post-implementation period, it determines exactly how far it can push and trample on the legitimate jurisdictional responsibilities of provinces and other governments.

It would make far more sense for the government to sit down with provinces and subnational governments, consult pre-emptively and develop legislation as partners, as opposed to presenting legislation and ultimately creating what would and could very easily become an adversarial environment. It is unfortunate the government does not take that opportunity and take its responsibility more seriously to consult with and work with the provinces in a more genuine way.

The member for Edmonton North made a great point earlier. She said that if the federal government took a proactive role and worked with the provinces, this could be an initiative of which all Canadians could feel proud and which would be a uniting initiative as opposed to what ultimately can be a divisive initiative of the government.

Some other concerns I have heard expressed in the House have been addressed by the government. The government has moved somewhat and there has been some success at the committee level and beyond.

In terms of order in council powers, this government, more than any government before it, has abused those powers and that authority. As the power has become increasingly concentrated, not just in cabinet any more but in the Prime Minister's Office, we have seen a significant reduction in the role parliament and in the role of members of parliament in determining the priorities of legislation like this and in helping shape this type of very important legislation. That is unfortunate not just for members of the House, but it is unfortunate for every Canadian represented by members in the House. When we reduce the rights of parliament and the rights of individual members of parliament, we ultimately reduce the democratic rights of individual Canadians.

If there is something that can unite almost every member of the House, regardless of whether they are on the government side, in the back benches or in opposition, it is the need for greater parliamentary input. This is not just lip service to legislation to make the television viewers happy when watching our deliberations. It involves genuine input that shapes legislation which will have a significant effect on future generations. Institutional reform is something to which we ought to devote far greater effort.

We support in principle the direction of the legislation. It makes a great deal of sense at this juncture to move in this direction. However we believe that the provinces and other subnational governments should have been, and should be, consulted in a more vigorous way prior to the formation of this legislation. If we expect the subnational governments to be part of the solution, we cannot impose this type of legislation on them. We need to work with them to build legislation that will impact significantly on their general business.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
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1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, as I do every time I stand to speak on national parks I want to quickly recite my own background and the relationship I have with national parks. My family and I decided in 1973 to move to a piece of property on a lake on the west side of the Rocky Mountains. We have lived there since 1974. We continue to live there today. Our family grew up there.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for the wildlife, the environment and the ecology. We have made a very strong personal family commitment to the environment, waking up in the morning and watching the bald eagles swooping down over the coots, or watching the muskrat burrowing out from the under the ice on some of our docks in the winter. I know our neighbours do not necessarily always appreciate the number of deer we have around in the winter because they chew at the hedges, but I live in an area with 500 people who have nothing but the greatest of respect for the ecology, the environment and certainly for all the wildlife species there.

With those personal qualifications, I would like to make some remarks on the whole issue of the establishment of the marine conservation areas. The change of the name from marine park, which is the name of the act from another parliament, to marine conservation area reflects a realization that national marine conservation areas are not simply parks in the water. Marine conservation areas involve a partnership among several federal departments.

Under the Oceans Act, the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans can establish marine protected areas. Additionally, Environment Canada can establish national wildlife areas or marine wildlife areas under the Canada Wildlife Act, as well as migratory bird sanctuaries under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. We see, then, with respect to what the government is attempting to do here that there already are a lot of federal laws with respect to the protection of the marine conservation areas.

What is very unfortunate is that these national laws end up overlapping and creating many more layers, like layers of an onion, on top of all the provincial regulations as well. Because the act would be administered under Canada's national park agency, I would like to take a look at how the national park agency is currently relating to issues of ecological integrity and the environment.

I will refer to a document that was done by the Fraser Institute. I believe the name of the document is Off Limits: How Radical Environmentalists are Shutting Down Canada's National Parks . It was done by Sylvia LeRoy and Barry Cooper and I want to give them full credit for what I am about to say here. Bearing in mind that the marine conservation areas would be administered by Parks Canada, let me read from one of the sections in this report, which states:

Much of the confusion over current parks policy stems from the language adopted over the course of a cumulative policy review process initiated by the federal government with the appointment of the Banff-Bow Valley Task Force in 1994. Reflecting recent trends in the wilderness conservation movement, ostensibly scientific discourse has been turned into highly charged political rhetoric in order to redefine the basic assumptions and parameters of parks policy. Specifically, the overriding consideration is to evaluate the impact of activities in the parks on what is called their “ecological integrity.” No one would in principle argue against a common sense understanding of ecological integrity, or EI as it is called by Parks Canada officials and environmentalist groups. Obviously, preservation of the integrity--the wholeness and soundness--of the ecology--the natural environment--must be an important priority in park management. In fact, however, the effective meaning of EI is far from clear. As a technical term, a term of art, as the lawyers say, it has been used to promote everything from the common sense meaning of environmental stewardship, to a most unusual and basic restructuring of the mountain parks, especially Banff National Park.

In the name of ecological integrity, it has, for instance, been proposed that Moraine Lake, the image of which used to grace the back of the $20 bill, be either bombed or poisoned so as to eradicate all non-native fish species described as “biological pollutants” by one government ecologist. Science projects already under way at the less well known Bighorn Lake are just as astonishing. There are trout in Bighorn Lake today, but according to EI advocates, once upon a time there were none. Ecological integrity today apparently requires that the existing fish be exterminated and the lake returned to pristine sterility. Bighorn Lake, a few miles from the Banff townsite, is a popular destination for hikers with fishing poles. It seems a curious policy of wildlife management that requires the extinction of wildlife.

It is this kind of extremism we see currently within Parks Canada which I am addressing as it relates to the future administration of this marine conservation area. When I visited Gros Morne National Park about three years ago I was astounded to see some of the largest mammals that I have ever seen wandering around in the wild in Canada. These were moose, absolutely gigantic moose. I was told that there were no fewer than 7,000 moose within Gros Morne park. Why have they thrived there? First, the top of the flat areas in Gros Morne park is a smorgasbord for the moose. It is perfectly and ideally suited for the moose, which is probably why God did not put moose in Newfoundland. Someone did. Someone introduced a pair of moose around the turn of the century. That pair has subsequently increased to 7,000 head and on top of that are literally eating Gros Morne out of existence.

In this report from the Fraser Institute we see on one side of the coin that selectively Parks Canada is prepared to poison Moraine Lake or to blow up the fish in Bighorn Lake so as to get back to a pristine standard, while on the other side of the coin, perhaps because the moose are so big and so magnificent, there is an absolute ban on any idea of there being a cull or any way of actually getting the number of moose under control, the balance being that the park likely within a number of measurable years will not be able to sustain those moose nor will the park be able to sustain itself and its ecological balance.

I visited Riding Mountain National Park about four years ago in the summer to find that someone had decided to plant some spruce trees on the far eastern boundary of the park. It was an area that was supposed to be a grassland or by nature was a grassland area. The spruce trees thrived and then we had spruce trees that were 80, 90 or 100 years old being cut down. These were beautiful clear spruce trees that were being cut down and burned because of park policy to try to return the area to grasslands.

On one side of the coin we are prepared to poison, blow up and annihilate fish. On the other we are not prepared to do anything about the moose that are destroying the park, but we are prepared to cut down and burn perfectly merchantable timber. This does not give me a whole lot of confidence in the environmental understanding of Parks Canada at this point.

I will read again from the Fraser Institute study, which states:

Parks policy has tended towards ever-greater restriction on enjoyment in order to promote ever-greater preservation. With the completion of reports of the Parks Canada Panels on Outlying Commercial Accommodations (OCAs) in 1999 and on Ecological Integrity (EI) in 2000, this policy trend has been emphatically affirmed . Bolstered by the scientific discourse that established benchmarks in [the Banff-Bow Valley study], and aided by the legal advice of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, the EI Panel has reinterpreted Parks Canada's historic dedication both to visitor use, and to park protection. Thus according to the Panel, “a proper reading of the National Parks Act of 1930 reveals that...there was no dual mandate.” Rather, ecological integrity was the one and only goal. Such a revision of the plain language of the Act calls into question the legitimacy of the general process by which parks policy is made, and in particular it raises the issue of informed public involvement. Since new guidelines for outlying commercial accommodations and ski areas are to be settled within the parameters of the EI Panel conclusions, the economic impact of the revised understanding of ecological integrity is bound to be significant. Moreover, these same assumptions are also bound to establish the context of future amendments to the National Parks Act as well as of future changes to regulations and interpretive guidelines made by Parks Canada under the terms of the Act.

As I stated at the outset, my primary concern about this issue is that we are giving to Parks Canada, an organization of questionable ecological understanding at this point, a club that it will be able to use in the national marine conservation area.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
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1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if I am required to say it is my pleasure to speak to this bill, but I do not think that is the case. I would be lying to the House if I said that it is my pleasure to speak on this bill, for the simple reason that it is completely unacceptable for us, for all of the provinces and especially for Quebec.

The federal government has the knack when it comes to causing trouble; it is as though they have specialists working on it. When something is working fine, they find a way to introduce legislation to interfere as much as possible in provincial jurisdiction.

The bill contains titles that look good: protecting submerged lands, protecting the environment. By and large, these titles appear to please everyone and it is difficult to argue against them.

Yet this bill interferes directly in areas of provincial jurisdiction, clearly contravenes Canada's constitution. My colleague, the member for Châteauguay, an eminent lawyer, explained to what extent this bill is designed to go against common sense, against the rights set out in Canada's constitution.

A question that comes to mind is: Why does the government do everything it can to show disdain, be insulting and disorganize what should actually be organized? This is the question we may ask ourselves, because if the federal government wants to protect marine areas, I believe it could very well do it within its own area of jurisdiction, without disorganizing what can be easily organized, with the co-operation of all.

I had the opportunity to speak in this House about polluted submerged lands, for example, by Canadian Forces and by the federal government. If a am correct, those submerged lands have been intentionally polluted since 1952. I come back to this matter that is a federal responsibility because it is the polluter who must clean it up.

Back home, there are still 300,000 mortar shells on the bed of lake St-Pierre waiting to be fished out. The banks of the St. Lawrence have been damaged by the navy, by ships, a sector which I believe is entirely a federal jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, we would like to see the federal government assume its responsibilities in that area, which is without a doubt under its jurisdiction. There would be no problem. Everyone would be happy, though I suspect that pleasing Quebec is what the federal government dislikes the most.

We are always left grappling with situations with which the federal government refuses to deal. But when it is a matter of finding ways to interfere in Quebec's jurisdiction, for example, they are experts and are impatient to act.

Non only does the government try to duplicate what the provinces are doing, it also tries to do the same within its own areas of jurisdiction. Concerning protection of seabeds, three or four government departments are stepping on each other's toes. They will expand into provincial jurisdictions, namely in the area of environment. So there will be duplication. How can this bill be seen as a way to manage the country efficiently?

I find it somewhat disappointing to have to deliver a speech which goes against common sense, against what we should be doing here and against discussions which could move things forward.

I am always extremely disappointed to see how they do not seem interested in potential areas of cooperation. And yet, there are many of them. We cooperated after the events that took place this fall. The Bloc agreed to cooperate as much as possible for the good conduct of business in the wake of these events.

The discussions held in committee this morning on a bill were intended to further the interests of the whole of Canada and of Quebec. Unfortunately, a bill such as this one leads us to believe that everything is being done to destroy good understanding, scale down the jurisdiction of the provinces and increase dissatisfaction.

The Bloc Quebecois does not support this bill. Indeed, it is not the first time we speak to this legislation. I do not know how much an amendment can change a piece of legislation, but I do think that the best amendment we can put forward is for the government to step aside and work in its field of jurisdiction.

I would ask the federal government to assume its responsibilities and stop wasting our time with issues and legislation whose only purpose is to destroy harmony. It should act to clean up the banks of the St. Lawrence, Lake St-Pierre and the Jacques-Cartier River. It should recognize its responsibilities in these areas instead of constantly trying to annoy provinces and creating overlapping between its own departments.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Madam Speaker, following the moving of the amendment to the amendment, I would like to rise again today because I believe it is very important that I make the following comments.

Once again today I am addressing the House, not only as a member of parliament, but also as a citizen concerned with protecting the environment.

Like my colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois, I am in favour of legislation aimed at protecting the environment and of measures focusing on environments at risk, on land or under water. Is it necessary to remind this House that the Bloc Quebecois supported the bill creating the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park?

Our support, however, is neither blind nor naive. We will continue to support pro-environment bills, but not at any price, not in just in any way. Hence our opposition to Bill C-10.

Our primary objection is that the federal government's intention is to use this bill to appropriate the lands and areas of jurisdiction belonging to Quebec and the provinces by creating marine areas.

As I explained earlier today, for the federal government to be able to take over everything, several critical elements must be present including as a prerequisite that it has clear title on the submerged lands. But it does not own them.

This is not only because the Constitution Act, 1867 says that the management and sale of public lands are an area of provincial jurisdiction, but also because Quebec's legislation on public lands applies to all public lands in Quebec including the beds of waterways and lakes as well as the bed of the St. Lawrence river, the estuary and the gulf of the St. Lawrence river, which belong to Quebec by sovereign right.

The Canadian heritage backgrounder mentions three areas: the St. Lawrence River, the estuary and the gulf of the St. Lawrence. The government wants to apply the bill to three areas under provincial jurisdiction.

The federal government would contravene section 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which provides that the management and sale of public lands are within the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces and not the federal government. The federal government cannot use an environmental protection measure to appropriate lands belonging to Quebec and the provinces. Rather it should seek the provinces' co-operation.

This is yet another example of the federal government's stubbornness about a process that works well. Again, the establishment of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park is the result of co-operation and partnership.

Why does the government refuse to listen to reason? It was the case with the young offenders legislation. The Quebec approach, which is based on rehabilitation and reintegration, has proven effective, but the federal government continues its push for a hard line approach. Today, I realize that the government is using the same process with this bill in that it wants to pass it first and then look at the issues.

I fear for the future of intergovernmental relations because we cannot trust a process that does not respect the public interest and, more importantly, because we cannot trust a government that does not respect its own departments. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans already has a program of marine protection zones in place. I stress the fact that this program is already in effect.

The result of all this is a state of confusion, and particularly of lack of respect. This is a case where the winner will be the one that will manage to gain the upper hand. Within the same government, we could end up with a duplication of tasks and skills. Why do they want duplication? How can the government justify this duplication? Why is it necessary? How many levels are required? How far will the federal government go in its quest for duplication? What worries me about this scenario is the rivalry that will result.

On the one hand, we have the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which has expertise in this area. There is the Department of the Environment, which also has expertise in this area. And, now, we have Canadian heritage, whose mandate is limited to promoting Canadian unity. Which of them can we trust? Which of them should we trust?

Canadian heritage uses the environment for national unity purposes, while fisheries and oceans manages our marine natural resources. Can we trust the federal government to make the right choice in this case? Sometimes, I wonder whether the government has any judgment left, let alone common sense.

My main concern about the bill is the flagrant lack of co-operation within the government itself. I strongly doubt whether such behaviour would reassure the other levels of government regarding the introduction and enforcement of a bill whose intentions are noble, but which really boils down to unhealthy rivalry.

This brings me to another question: who will have the upper hand in the event of conflict? Which department will have the last word? If the federal government answers this, it will be tantamount to revealing its true objective and its true nature as far as the purpose of this bill goes. This could easily become a double edged sword.

On the one hand, the government insists that the environment is a priority, while on the other it takes advantage of this fine principle to flog national identity, using Canadian heritage which, I would remind hon. members, possesses no expertise whatsoever as far as the environment is concerned.

The result is pitiful. Even if we do not go so far as to call it a downright dangerous appropriation of funds and resources, there is confusion, total and insurmountable confusion. There is such confusion that even those in charge of the various departments are lost themselves. There is no way of sorting it out. Confusion reigns among the departments.

If there is confusion amongst the departments, it is easy to imagine what confusion there would be among the key stakeholders. Which department will be the one to really administer this protected zone? Which one will really be in charge of the stakeholders? Which will penalize those breaking the law?

All of these questions remain without answers, and no answers will be forthcoming, for there is no one capable of answering without sinking into a morass of duplicating and overlapping policies.

Marcelle Ferron
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, yesterday we learned the sad news of the passing of Quebec artist Marcelle Ferron.

Born in Louiseville, Marcelle Ferron was one of the key artists to modernity in our country. From her first solo show in Montreal in 1949, to the retrospective on her work at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal in 2000, Marcelle Ferron was always an innovative and involved artist. In 1948 she cosigned the Refus global , the manifesto that marked Canada's cultural life.

In 1961 she was awarded the silver medal at the Sao Paulo Biennial, and she was the first woman to win the prestigious Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 1983.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I salute her for her work and offer my most sincere condolences to her loved ones.

Health
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Madam Speaker, last year Saskatchewan's Premier Romanow appointed a commission on health care in Saskatchewan headed by Mr. Ken Fyke. The report was submitted to the current premier, Lorne Calvert, on April 6 of this year. Among other things it recommended 50 fewer hospitals, a reduction in acute care beds and suggested turning family physicians into salaried employees of the health districts.

The Fyke report was submitted only three days after the government commissioned former Premier Romanow to head a commission on the future of health care in Canada. These studies cost millions. Thankfully Saskatchewan has not yet taken action on the Fyke report. The Romanow report will not be completed for another year.

Saskatchewan was the birthplace of medicare. Yet its NDP government policies are eroding health care. The Liberal government contributes only about 12 cents of every dollar expended on health care. This also contributes to the erosion.

In Saskatchewan like a rock refers to a song or a tough truck—

Health
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The hon. member for Niagara Centre.

Multiculturalism
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Niagara Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, in 1996 the UN general assembly declared November 16 the International Day of Tolerance. Tolerance is the foundation of democracy and human rights and the foundation of civil society, but we should never forget that the responsibility for tolerance rests with all of us.

Today more than ever we need to rededicate ourselves to our common values of tolerance, respect and equality, values that have come to define who we are as Canadians.

Unfortunately many people around the world are still victims of intolerance. We must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to educate. We must continue to ensure we work to promote tolerance of diversity around the world.

Cultural diversity has been a fundamental Canadian characteristic since our beginning. Intolerance of others has no place in Canadian society. It undermines our fundamental values of respect, equality and security and causes damage to our multicultural, tolerant and law abiding society.

Let us use the observance of this important day to reaffirm our faith in the tolerance of all peoples and beliefs and to strengthen the mutual respect that is fundamental to our Canadian values.

Fetal alcohol syndrome
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Louis-Hébert, QC

Madam Speaker, in April 2001, private members' motion M-155 called for the introduction of warning labels on the risks of congenital abnormalities associated with drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

In response to this motion, the Minister of Health asked the National Advisory Committee on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects to study the issue and come up with a recommendation.

I am pleased to announce today that the committee supports this motion and urges that the warning labels be a part of a comprehensive prevention strategy.

The Committee recommended that a visual logo accompany the written information and that there be a number to call for help. As well, each time that liquor is sold, information on the dangers associated with consuming alcohol during pregnancy should be provided.

Over the coming months, Health Canada will study the advisability of this approach, taking expert recommendations into consideration. I look forward to seeing these labels on the market as soon as possible, and I would like to congratulate the minister and the National Advisory Committee for this good initiative.

Wayne Fast
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it truly is an honour to pay tribute to the life and career of police constable Wayne Fast who served the Toronto police service with great distinction for more than 25 years including 6 years in 51 Division in my riding of Toronto Centre--Rosedale.

Constable Fast believed strongly in the value of community policing, an element of police work that is more important than ever in our complex urban environment. This was reflected in his work advising community members on crime prevention and improving safety in Regent Park in my riding.

His partner, police constable John Segriff, noted that Wayne was a very dedicated police officer and was well respected by his fellow officers and the community.

I extend my sincere condolences to his wife Karen and daughters Jacqueline and Marni. I hope they will always take comfort and satisfaction in knowing that our communities are safer and healthier places in which to live because of the good work of their husband and father and officers like him.