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 senate.

Topics

Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the PC/DR coalition is opposed to this motion.

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

Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
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3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
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3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to inform the House that, because of the recorded division, government orders will be extended by 15 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, an Act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment and subamendment.

Canada National marine conservation areas Act
Government Orders

November 20th, 2001 / 3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, normally I would not use the two minutes that I have left, because I had many opportunities to speak this morning. However, given the importance of Bill C-10, to which we are opposed, I will use those two minutes.

Before oral question period, I was saying that there is confusion within the government's own departments, whether it is Fisheries and Oceans, or Environment Canada. Now, in addition to these two, Canadian heritage wants to be responsible for certain areas, this strictly for Canadian unity reasons.

With this much confusion within the federal government itself, it is easy to imagine the confusion there would be at other levels of government. To whom would a provincial government such as Quebec go in connection with the administration of a protected zone? I have no idea.

This confusion gives rise to another problem as well. The problem is a fundamental one. If the departments of a government cannot work together, how can we expect provincial governments to co-operate? It is understandable that the Government of Quebec would refuse to co-operate in this project. The federal government is unable to tell us clearly and precisely why this bill comes from Canadian heritage, when Fisheries and Oceans Canada already has a marine area protection program. The Bloc Quebecois cannot but oppose such an incredible administrative muddle as this.

The way this bill is to be implemented is not clear; it cannot be clear, because of the very nature of its objectives. Canadian heritage is trying to take over jurisdictions that are not its own. It is also trying, with this bill, to take over areas that are not its areas, and thus to meddle once again in provincial jurisdictions and in Quebec's jurisdiction, under cover of the environment. How far will the federal government go in taking over jurisdictions that belong to Quebec and the other provinces?

I reiterate my opposition to Bill C-10 on protected marine areas for several reasons, including the overlap of the responsibilities of departments and especially because of the indirect approach taken in appropriating jurisdictions that belong exclusively to Quebec and the other provinces.

Once again, the federal government has chosen to introduce a bill that ignores action already taken, and successfully. I am talking of course about the agreement regarding the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park.

I fear for the future of people who believe in this government, which takes no account of their interests. I fear for the future of our environment when the objectives of a bill put before us ignore its primary focus, the environment.

In closing, I want people to understand what we are saying here. The Bloc Quebecois is in favour of protecting the environment, but we cannot be naive to the point of agreeing to pass this bill. The government tried to get the House to pass similar legislation in previous parliaments through Bill C-8 and Bill C-48. Now we have Bill C-10, which creates overlap and through which the government is trying to use crown lands.

Canada National marine conservation areas Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-10 one more time. I begin my comments by saying that the coalition will be supporting the bill although I do take into account some of the comments made by my colleagues from other parties on the whole notion of trust. There have been occasions in the past when the government has indicated that it would do things in a certain way and it turned out to be exactly the opposite.

When we studied Bill C-10 in committee we had the government act in a number of ways to try to include the concerns raised by witnesses, by me and by my colleagues, in particular my colleague from the Alliance representing Skeena. The government moved a bit on some of those issues.

One of the biggest concerns was the whole area of provincial and federal jurisdiction. If a marine conservation area is to be established in an area under federal jurisdiction, from the federal government's perspective there is no need for it to consult although it said it would consult. That is positive.

In an area that is under provincial jurisdiction the legislation clearly outlines that the provincial and federal governments must be in agreement with the establishment of a marine conservation area.

Generally speaking the concept of a marine conservation area is a positive one. It is a good idea to set aside 29 marine parks in different regions of the country, one representing each region and sub-region, so that we can maintain these areas not only for now but for future use and enjoyment as well.

I believe there is balance in the legislation in that other activities are allowed to occur in a marine conservation area such as fishing and others. Those items are clearly laid out in the bill.

Those who listened to the debate throughout our deliberations on Bill C-10 will know that concerns were raised by the Alliance indicating that the bill went too far and did not allow for enough consultation, flexibility or resource development.

Our friends in the NDP say the bill does not go far enough to protect the environment. Our friends in the Bloc have concerns about the bill mainly because of the provincial jurisdiction aspect. We understand that is their concern. It is a concern for all of us as well. My colleague in the Bloc previously pointed out the whole issue of trust.

In the past the government has infringed on areas of provincial jurisdiction. Even in a bill where the process is clearly laid out the way there is a bit of hesitance to accept the federal government's role in the way that it will actually carry out the process laid out in the bill.

The legislation will be passed because the government is in support of it. It has a majority in the House. Regardless of what opposition members do, if it is a piece of legislation the government wants to go through the House it will go through the House.

If the bill is to be successful and if the creation of these marine conservation areas is to go ahead in a way that takes into account consultation with local regions and with provinces, it is dependent upon the government, and particularly the minister of heritage because the bill is under her area of jurisdiction, that it be implemented in such a way that a marine conservation area will never be established against the will of local communities or provincial jurisdiction. We hope that would be the case.

The government assured us that it was not its intent and drafters of the legislation told us that as well. However, as others have said in this place, we have heard those words before. When we hear them over and over and the actions do not add up to the words, we tend to hesitate in putting trust and faith in a government that has not always lived up to its promises in the past.

We could spend some time talking about promises made by the Liberal government since it took office in 1993. There were things like the GST, helicopters and all kinds of other issues, but I will not digress.

Those kinds of things give us reason to question whether or not the government would implement the bill in the way that it says it would. It is only when the government commits by its actions and lives up to its word that it is able to move ahead and build trust not only with members of parliament from other parties but also with the people we represent in different regions across the country.

It is my hope that this would be the case with Bill C-10. I came to study the bill later than some of my colleagues. It has had several incarnations in the House and we are at the point where the legislation can go ahead.

We support the establishment of marine conservation areas but qualify our support hoping that the government will continue the consultative process with local communities and provinces before establishing one of these areas.

Once established, it is hoped that the government would stick to its word to continue with advisory committees from the local areas to monitor the implementation of the marine conservation areas and to monitor the activities in the areas. If the government does not follow through on that it will give rise to the objections we had and prove those who oppose the bill to be right. It will only be with the test of time that we will see whether or not the government delivers on the commitment of consultation.

There are many concerns about the bill. We in the PC/DR coalition do not believe it to be a perfect bill. We have qualified support for it since we support the notion of marine conservation areas. We believe there has been some balance struck in the bill, but it will only be a supportable notion if the government proceeds in a way that ensures consultation and that the conservation areas are put in locations with the agreement of those communities.

Canada National marine conservation areas Act
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3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

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3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

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3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on the amendment to the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment to the amendment.

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3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada National marine conservation areas Act
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3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the amendment to the amendment will please say yea.

Canada National marine conservation areas Act
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3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Canada National marine conservation areas Act
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3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Canada National marine conservation areas Act
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3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.