House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

June 10th, 2002 / noon

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That in relation to Bill C-5, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage of the bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and, fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and on the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30 minute question period.

In order to facilitate everyone's work over the next 30 minutes we will govern ourselves in such a way to allow as many members as possible to participate with questions and replies being no longer than approximately one minute.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, what we have just seen is truly a disgrace. It is the 77th time that closure has been used. The rat pack used to oppose that an awful lot.

The Canadian Alliance has always supported the goal of this legislation which is to save species at risk. However it is unfair to expect some Canadians to absorb the total cost. Landowners and resource users deserve better than this from the government. Some will lose their livelihood or their land or their land value to save species without fair market value compensation.

The minister is playing a shell game by promising that it would be in the regulations. If there were no regulations drawn up there would be no compensation. This “trust us” attitude is not acceptable. No money has been budgeted for this compensation. The legislation will not work on the ground. Will the minister come clean and drop his shell game and say there is no compensation and tell Canadians the truth?

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the first point made by the hon. member was that the time allocation motion should not be put.

I point out to him when we combine Bill C-5 with the two preceding pieces of legislation, Bills C-33 and C-65, we have had a total of 93 days of debate in the House discussing endangered species legislation. That totals 246 hours in the House and committee.

The time has come for us to recognize that we are running out of time before the summer and we must get on with this because this piece of legislation has had more exhaustive debate than any other legislation that comes to my mind at the present time.

On the second point with respect to compensation, as the member well knows we attempted to draw compensation regulations initially but we found this to be quite new and experimental in some respects. We were unable to do so without risking denying compensation to people on the land who might conceivably deserve it under conditions which we have not yet fully envisaged.

We decided to have a period of experimentation. I can assure the hon. member that we fully expect to have compensation provisions and to use the compensation provisions in the act.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as my Canadian Alliance colleague just mentioned, once again, there is a gag order on a bill on which there is no consensus within the government.

My question concerns the authority to make regulations under this bill. The department's backgrounder says that this authority encompasses not only crown land, but any land and water in Canada.

Can the minister assure the House today that the regulations that are yet to come will only apply to crown and federal lands and that he will concern himself with areas under his jurisdiction, such as wildlife reserves throughout Canada, and not land under provincial jurisdiction?

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

David Anderson Victoria, BC

No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot make the commitment the hon. member is asking for. The legislation applies to all of Canada, every province and every territory. It does not apply only to land under federal legislative control, meaning Indian reserves or, for instance, military reserves or national parks. It goes much further than that.

However, should the member examine the legislation, he will see that if a province does an adequate job of protecting species at risk, the federal government will let it continue doing what it does to protect these species and will not override it.

If we have good agreements in place with the provinces and they know what to do, we will provide scientific advice and maybe also money occasionally. We will help them protect species at risk. However, there is no way this legislation will only apply to federal lands.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister mentioned the 93 days and we know that is not accurate. There are only snippets of those days in the House and in committee. It has taken the government nine years to bring forward substantive environmental protection legislation.

The Conservative Party, along with many stakeholders, sought to ensure a proper balance. Why has the environment minister chosen to ignore the unprecedented consensus that was achieved by the coalition of major environmental and industrial groups known as the species at risk working group? Why has he gone around that with this legislation? Why does he continue to be completely unspecific on the issue of compensation?

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Anderson Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should realize that it has taken us a long time to get this legislation out because the previous Conservative government did nothing about this issue. It was in our red book when we first came forward. We beat the Conservatives to the point where they were reduced to two seats because they were doing nothing on this issue.

Since then it has taken a lot of time. He is quite right. However when he says that we have not attempted anything for nine years, has he forgotten Bill C-33, or indeed the previous bill, Bill C-65? Has he forgotten how long it has taken with this particular bill?

We have been working on this continuously. When he is so critical of parts of days being used I hope he will remember, as he cozies up to the Alliance as he is so keen on doing, that the staff of the hon. Leader of the Opposition actually bragged about the way it was filibustering this particular piece of legislation.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government should be ashamed of itself. How dare it rule the country with such an iron fist?

The species at risk act is a major piece of legislation which the government has been trying to push down the throats of Canadians since its first term in office. This is the third attempt and it still does not have it right. The government just invoked time allocation which would seriously restrict debate. It does not care to listen to the concerns of Canadians any longer. How shameful.

The Minister of the Environment has heard from the farmers, ranchers, guide outfitters, fishermen, landowners and others who have identified serious concerns with the impact of the bill. We have demanded that socioeconomic concerns be included in the purpose statement of the bill so that decisions made under the legislation would take into account the impact that it would have. Instead the government has argued against such an amendment. Canadians deserve better.

Can the minister explain why he does not care about the impact that the bill will have on rural Canadians and landowners?

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Anderson Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, as I wade through that lengthy statement I am having difficulty in finding the question.

The hon. member says we have not consulted with people who work on the land. We have. The hon. member is concerned about individuals who work on the land where these endangered species are found. I agree with him that these are the people who are most important in this legislation: farmers, ranchers, trappers, people who fish or people who work in the woods. These are the frontline people when it comes to protecting endangered species.

We have consistently sought the support of and worked with such people, and that is why in this legislation members will find that the approach we have adopted is user friendly. We stress that we will have programs in place that are protective rather than, as the opposition would suggest so frequently, coercive.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister surely knows that Quebec has had its own species at risk legislation since 1991, which is even one year before the earth summit was held.

Given the fact that, in 1996, Quebec and the provinces signed the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk in Canada, in which co-operation was deemed to be a fundamental principle by the federal government, and given the fact the Quebec has had its own legislation for more than ten years and has ratified the accord that I just mentioned, can the minister assure us that Bill C-5 will not apply to Quebec as he has already promised?

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Anderson Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is not correct. As I just said in my answer to the member's first question, this legislation will apply to Canada as a whole, that is to all the provinces and territories. As the member indicated, in cases where a province already has species at risk legislation, the federal government will play second fiddle to the province. If the provinces need scientific or financial assistance, we will be able to provide that. We will work with the provinces and territories to ensure that all species at risk across Canada benefit from the best protection possible.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister claims that the people who advised him were the ones on the ground and who knew what type of legislation we should have.

Would that not be even more so for the people on the environment committee who spent 12 to 15 months of regular work on trying to redraft the bill because it was so weak. Do they not get any credit for their expertise? All political parties, including your own, Mr. Minister, sitting on the committee made substantial amendments.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Just to differentiate between committee work maybe and the House, members should make sure that all interventions are made through the Chair and not directly across the floor.

Species at Risk Act
Government Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for that. It is a proper admonition for my part.

The reality is that the committee did spend a lot of time. They were experts and knowledgeable people and also representative of the country in terms of what type of legislation we need. Do they not get any credit? Do we shovel these government amendments through or do we allow the committee work to stand as being a much more accurate representation of where the country is at?