House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was harbours.

Topics

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The division stands deferred until tomorrow, June 6, at the end of the time provided for government orders.

Child Care
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

June 5th, 2006 / 6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of presenting petitions from people in my community who are opposed to, and maybe even appalled by, the government's plan to kill child care. These constituents are particularly concerned about the unfairness of the child care allowance and say that it disproportionately benefits those who need help the least and hurts working, dual income families. They want to express that concern to the House of Commons.

Citizenship and Immigration
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand in the House today to present a petition on behalf of the people in my riding of St. Catharines who are concerned about the issue of immigration and refugees. This petition deals with the acceptance of both immigrants and refugees.

Child Care
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am also privileged to introduce a petition on the subject of child care, an issue that is important to all Canadians. This petition comes from the people of the riding of Ottawa West—Nepean.

Rights of the Unborn
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I would like to present a petition from members of my constituency of Kelowna—Lake Country and throughout Canada. The petition calls for Parliament to enact legislation which would recognize unborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against their mothers, allowing two charges to be laid against the offender instead of only one. I support the petition and present it.

Postal Service
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to present a petition on behalf of the people of several regions in south-eastern New Brunswick, including my constituency and Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

The petitioners are very concerned about the reduction of postal service in rural areas and small towns. Not only are they worried about delivery to rural mailboxes, but the petitioners are worried that Canada Post is seeking to close rural post offices by calling this an amalgamation or a consolidation. The petitioners are asking the government and Parliament to ensure that postal service is maintained in small rural communities all across Canada.

Deltaport
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions today. One of the petitions is in three parts. The first petition has to do with citizens of Delta and British Columbia who are calling upon Parliament to stop the expansion of the Deltaport. The petitioners are very concerned about the impact of traffic on the community as well as the significant loss of habitat in the Strait of Georgia.

Rights of the Unborn
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have is again from citizens of the community of Delta. The petitioners are concerned that in current federal law an unborn child is not recognized as a victim with respect to violent crimes. The petitioners call on Parliament to enact legislation which would recognize unborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against their mothers, therefore allowing two charges to be laid against the offender instead of only one.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 11 and 12.

Question No. 11
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

With regard to Arctic sovereignty: (a) does the government believe that it has a strong claim to shipping rights in the Northwest Passage; (b) what is the legal basis for this claim; (c) does the government believe that climate change has the potential to affect claims to our Arctic sovereignty; (d) if climate change poses a threat to our claims, what steps will be taken to mitigate climate change; (e) is the government aware of any activity by foreign submarines in Arctic waters since 1991; (f) which countries possess the ability to operate in our Arctic waters undetected; (g) which countries agree with our Arctic claims; and (h) which countries contest our claims and on what grounds?

Question No. 11
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows:

a) Yes.

b) Canada has an unfettered right to regulate navigation in the waters of the Canadian Arctic, including the waterways that make up the Northwest Passage, as they are internal waters of Canada. The legal status of these waters as internal waters is based on a strong foundation in international law.

c) Canada's sovereignty over the lands and islands of the Arctic is longstanding and undisputed, with the sole exception of tiny Hans Island. Regarding the waters of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, our title is not based on the extent of ice cover. In addition, no one disputes that these waters are Canadian. The issue that has been a matter of disagreement with the United States is the extent to which Canada can control navigation by foreign-flagged vessels that engage in voyages across the waters of the Canadian archipelago.

Climate change may have the potential to increase the frequency of commercial navigation across the Northwest Passage as ice conditions improve in the future. With greater use for international navigation, it has been said that uncontrolled transits will contribute to the argument that an international strait could develop through the Canadian Arctic waters. For Canada,

1. no international strait exists in these waters, nor can one develop there, as these waters are internal to Canada by virtue of historic title and our sovereignty there is absolute.

2. in any event, Canada will continue to exercise effective control on foreign navigation in our waters and to ensure that navigation takes place in accordance with Canada’s conditions.

Canada’s policy has been and remains that it will allow international navigation in Canadian Arctic waters, so long as conditions and controls established by Canada to protect security, environmental and Inuit interests are met.

d) Canada will continue to ensure that navigation in its Arctic waters is done in accordance with its regulations and controls.

e) This information is classified for reasons of national security.

f) It is important to indicate that the first and foremost advantage of submarines, whether nuclear or conventional, is to operate undetected. Conversely since the various waterways which make up the Northwest Passage are constricted by ice floes during most of the winter season, only nuclear submarines with under-ice operating capabilities can operate in such an environment. As such we assess that nations such as; the United States, Russia, United Kingdom and France have these capabilities. Nonetheless, during summer months, once the Northwest Passage is partially clear of ice, conventional submarines could potentially operate in these waterways. However since conventional submarines rely on fossil fuels to charge the batteries that permit them to operate underwater, it would be highly unlikely for a conventional submarine to venture on a distant operation such as the Canadian Arctic without surface vessel support and go undetected on such a voyage.

g) and h) With the exception of tiny Hans Island, claimed by Denmark, no one disputes Canada’s sovereignty over the lands and islands of the Canadian arctic.

Similarly, with the exception of disputes on the maritime delimitation between Canada and the US in the Beaufort Sea and between Canada and Denmark (Greenland) in the Lincoln Sea, no one disputes that the waters of the Canadian Arctic belong to Canada.

With respect to the legal status of the waters of the Canadian Arctic archipelago, only the United States and the European Union have expressed their disagreement with the validity of the straight baselines which Canada drew around the Arctic archipelago in 1986, which confirmed the status of the waters of the archipelago as internal waters of Canada.

Question No. 12
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

With regard to planned procurement and construction by the Department of National Defence: (a) will the government follow the fast-tracked process for procurement outlined by the previous Minister of National Defence; (b) how will any processes for procurement differ from previous processes; (c) what is the government proposing in terms of equipment procurement over the next two years; (d) is the government beginning any feasibility studies of new military ports, particularly in the Arctic; (e) has the government undertaken any environmental impact studies on the results of creating a deep water port near Iqaluit; (f) has the government done any feasibility studies for icebreakers that could be used in the Arctic, and, if so, what was recommended as the most useful icebreakers for Canada in the Arctic; (g) has the government done any feasibility studies on a sonar listening system in the Arctic to detect foreign submarines, and, if so, what was the recommended configuration and cost of the system?

Question No. 12
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the answer is as follows:

a) Other then making recommendations to Public Works and refining internal processes, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces have no authority to make changes to the government procurement system.

b) Internally, the Department of National Defence’s procurement process is being improved by defining operational requirements using high level mandatory requirements and focusing technical specifications on high level performance characteristics reducing the time required to prepare and respond to requests for proposals. In addition, off-the-shelf, civilian and military, products will be employed whenever mandatory requirements are met. As well, projects are being grouped under a single division to leverage the benefits and synergies of co-locating common project management activities. Finally, a specific effort is being made to recruit, train and manage professional project managers that will contribute to a faster process

c) In the short term, the department is currently evaluating options to ensure that the Canadian Forces have the right mix of equipment and hopes to pursue cabinet approval for a number of projects in the near future.

d) As of May 2006, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces have not begun any studies for new military ports in the Arctic. However, the department is looking at options to improve its presence, surveillance and response capabilities in the Arctic.

e) As of May 2006, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces have not completed any environmental impact studies on the results of creating a deep-water port near Iqaluit. However, it will be looking at environmental and consultative work on the Arctic in the near future

f) As of May 2006, no feasibility studies have been completed for the acquisition of icebreakers. Options to improve the Canadian Forces’ presence, surveillance and response capabilities in the Arctic are under consideration.

g) The Department of National Defence has done extensive research and scientific evaluation, dating from the 1950s onwards, on means to implement an Arctic surveillance system for the detection of submarines transiting through Canadian Arctic waters. The department will continue to explore the best means and options for maintaining domain awareness in the Arctic, including submarine detection.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 9 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Is that agreed?