House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is that agreed?

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Pursuant to Standing Order 76(8) the recorded division on the motion stands deferred.

The House resumed from April 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-6, an act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

International Boundary Waters Treaty Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the two minutes left before question period, which will be adequate for me to make my brief intervention, I would like to say that the bill before us has positive features and it has some negatives. I will briefly outline them for the House's consideration.

Beginning with the positive, this act dealing with transboundary waters offers an ecological approach. It deals with water as an important item that is dealt with as a basin. It is seen as an ecological asset wherever it is found and therefore it is dealt with in an approach that is new and, from an ecological and environmental point of view, I think, most desirable.

Having said that, I will say that the bill also has some shortcomings because it relies on the voluntary approach when it comes to non-boundary waters in preventing the export of bulk water. In other words, Bill C-6 is quite explicit. It says that the export of water in transboundary lakes and river systems and the like is not to be permitted, but when it comes to waters from Newfoundland to British Columbia that are not shared with our neighbours, it is left to the provinces to decide whether or not the export should take place. Therefore it covers only one aspect of our great ecological asset, namely, freshwater.

The legislation also leaves out bodies such as Lake Winnipeg, the island lakes from Newfoundland, and other lakes from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

The fact, therefore, that emerges from reading the bill is that while a good step is being undertaken in the bill in covering transboundary waters, it leaves out a substantial body of lakes and rivers that are not being shared with our neighbours to the south.

The bill also does not contain any reference to reciprocity on the part of the United States. It may be that this bill is not the appropriate place to have that kind of reference.

It may be that such an omission could be corrected by an appropriate amendment to the 1909 Canada-U.S. Boundary Waters Treaty in a manner that would bind the United States as well. I am not aware of initiatives south of the border that would be parallel to the one we are initiating in this parliament, and therefore I am raising this matter here this afternoon.

Moving on, the question of export of bulk water is one that has been of major concern to Canadians. We know that the vast majority of our population does not want to see Canadian water exported in bulk. Therefore maybe there is a solution to that problem by having the Government of Canada seek an interpretive statement under NAFTA whereby bulk water is to be defined as a non-tradable commodity.

Having obtained that interpretive statement, then we could use our constitutional powers given for international trade to the federal government and subsequently enact federal legislation banning export of bulk water, covering Canada as a whole and not having to rely on the vagaries of the voluntary agreements with the provinces, as we would by adopting this bill alone.

Finally, the approach I have just outlined of seeking an interpretive statement is not a new one. It has been followed already for health services, which are not subjected to trade agreements. It has been adopted in relation to education and it has been adopted in relation to certain natural resources.

What is desirable, then, in the near future would be an additional piece of legislation that would replace the voluntary accord proposed by Ottawa in the case of removal of bulk water. We need that kind of legislation that would make it illegal to export non-boundary bulk water because it is quite safe to predict that the voluntary approach would not work in the long term, as leadership in provincial governments changes from time to time.

In conclusion I would say that we need this type of legislation with a certain element of urgency, because in certain provinces there could be a threat very soon for the export of bulk water from non-boundary waters, which might be authorized by some provincial government, as we have learned from media reports emanating out of Newfoundland.

I will use the remaining minute just to refer to the fact that the government introduced in August 1998 a very good piece of legislation called Bill C-156. It was called the Canada water preservation act. It contained a number of legislative measures emanating from the Pearse water report, which was initiated in January 1984 and completed in 1985. It has been languishing since then, waiting for implementation. It is an important report that certainly deserves the attention of this parliament.

Canadian Improv Games
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased and proud to announce that last Saturday a nine member team from Westwood Community High School in Fort McMurray won the Canadian National Improv Games here in Ottawa.

They competed in a fierce battle with four other teams, but when the dust settled and the points were tallied the team from Westwood came out victorious.

When one considers the accomplishments of these students, it is obvious that the tar sands are not the most precious resource in Fort McMurray.

I wish to extend congratulations on a job well done to students Lucus Merger, Arlen Konopaki, Sean Parsons, Michelle Parsons, Mike Robertson, Laura Rushfeldt, Kyle Miles, David Zeglen, and their teacher, Karen Towsley.

Responsible Fishing Awards
Statements By Members

May 3rd, 2001 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge and congratulate the winners of the Roméo LeBlanc National Awards for Responsible Fishing.

This award recognizes Canadian fishermen who have contributed to the development and promotion of responsible fishing practices. Individual fisherman are the most aware of the need to manage fisheries in a responsible manner. It is their livelihood. It is their future.

This award gives them the recognition they deserve. The 2001 winners who are present in the gallery today, Stan Logan, Pierrot Haché, Stevie Audlakiak and George Purvis, have all been chosen by their peers for significant contributions to responsible fisheries. These men are role models for younger generations who look to Canada's great ocean resources for their future

I wish to extend congratulations to the winners of the award and thank them for their inspiration.

Regional Development
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, documents prepared for the industry minister by Western Economic Diversification Canada show that since the Liberals came to power western Canada's share of money for regional economic development has been cut by more than half and that the rationale for funding certain projects is to gain “visibility and credit” for the government.

No wonder poll results released by the Council for Canadian Unity show that a majority of Canadians in nine out of ten provinces feel that their province does not get the respect it deserves from this federal government.

Canadians want real change. They do not want feel good tours and they do not want self-serving Liberal patronage either. For example, the council's research shows that 60% of western Canadians cite an elected Senate as a high priority and 55% cite free votes in the House as a high priority.

The government should stop playing politics with regional issues and should start addressing the real priorities of Canadians.

Mental Health
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, under a brilliant sky, hundreds of people met at the Aylmer race track to take part in the event known as “En espadrilles pour la santé mentale”.

Organized to raise money for the Fondation Pierre-Janet, this fundraiser brought in over $35,000 to build a new day centre, exceeding the objective set by the organizing committee.

Today, I would like to thank all those who, in varying degrees, worked to organize this dynamic event, where good humour was infectious. “En espadrilles pour la santé mentale,” was a fine occasion to promote a feeling of solidarity with and generosity toward people facing problems of mental health.

This event is another great success for the Fondation Pierre-Janet, which, since 1990, has invested over $500,000 in the field of mental health in the Outaouais.

Long life to the Fondation Pierre-Janet and to Dan Guay, who instigated the “En espadrilles pour la santé mentale” event.

Responsible Fishing Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Stevie Audlakiak of Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, who received the 2000 Roméo LeBlanc Award for Responsible Fishing for the Arctic.

Honoured for being our leading proponent of responsible fisheries developments in Nunavut, which includes Inuit traditions of responsible fisheries harvesting, Stevie has ensured the sustainability of the Arctic char harvest as well as trying to initiate a clam fishery off Broughton Island.

I wish to extend thanks to Stevie Audlakiak for his great contribution to a viable Nunavut fishery and the continuing developments in the fishery as he continues to improve and refine techniques to the benefit of all.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week more than six million Canadians across the country took part in efforts to help protect our planet's environment as they celebrated Earth Week.

Students in Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale learned about recycling, composting, alternative energies and climate change. I was pleased to see students out in the community planting and cleaning parks, all in the effort to improve and protect Canada's environment.

I encourage the federal government to continue its efforts to promote sustainable development in Canada and across the globe.

Mauricie
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, a real catastrophe occurred in the Mauricie region this week, with two plants announcing their upcoming closure in July and the lay-off of nearly 750 employees, 90 at the Norton plant in Shawinigan and, to add insult to injury, 650 at the Fruit of the Loom plant, the second largest employer in manufacturing in Trois-Rivières, where a large majority of the workers are women.

Clearly, more than ever, the Mauricie region needs a strategy to revitalize the economy, in which the federal government, which collects 50% of Quebecers' taxes, will work with the Government of Quebec to offset the job losses and to rebuild our industrial sector as well.

More generally, specific measures should be put in place to fight the negative effects of globalization on both the public and private sectors.

Most importantly, however, right now, we must give thought to women, children and families. Everything must be done to save these businesses and their 750 employees.

World Asthma Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating World Asthma Day, the theme of which is that asthma can be understood and controlled.

Asthma is on the increase in Canada. Every year, it claims over 500 victims. This is 10 deaths a week.

Today is an opportunity to become familiar with the facts of this disease. Asthma is one of the major causes of hospitalization in Canada. Yet, if Canadians had a greater awareness of this disease, emergency room visits could be reduced by 50% and hospital stays by 80%.

As one of the most common diseases in Canada, asthma carries a high price tag. It lowers productivity but, worse, it diminishes the quality of life of asthma sufferers and their families.

I urge hon. members and all Canadians to find out more about this disease. It concerns every one of us.

Press Freedom Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is World Press Freedom Day. Freedom of the press is essential to ensure that democratic rights and freedoms are protected.

A free press not only promotes transparency and accountability in governance but also encourages lively debate and engages citizens in public life.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said “Freedom of the press ensures that the abuse of every other freedom can be known, can be challenged, and even defeated”.

In Canada, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are protected within the charter of rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, that is not the case in all countries.

Today we pay tribute to journalists around the world who risk their lives to report on injustices and fight for the rights and freedoms that we in Canada so cherish and to Canadian journalists who contribute to ensuring a real public dialogue in our society.

Zimbabwe
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's silence on the crisis in Zimbabwe is deafening. Democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights have been replaced with violence and intimidation. People live in fear of the government.

By not acting, the government is complicit in the abuse of basic human rights by a dictatorial regime. I call on the government to send a strong message to the government of Zimbabwe by temporarily suspending all international aid assistance.

Further, the government must insist that our commonwealth partners do the same. Canada must demonstrate a clear resolve to President Mugabe that human rights abuses will not be tolerated.

I urge the government to act in the name of democracy.