House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.

Topics

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 210, 211 and 212.

Question No. 210
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

With regard to water-monitoring stations: (a) how many stations does the government own or operate across Canada; (b) for what purposes does it use these stations; (c) how does the government monitor the quality of surface water in watersheds across the country for toxins and other pollutants; and (d) does the government have a clear picture of the types and levels of contaminants present in Canada’s lakes, rivers and streams?

Question No. 210
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the number of sites owned and/or operated under cost-shared agreements with provinces and territories is 600, nearly 300 of which are in the Great Lakes.

In response to (b), the key purpose is to determine water quality status and trends and assess overall aquatic ecosystem health. Some monitoring or surveillance is also undertaken to better understand presence and levels of emerging contaminants and threats such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs, used in flame retardants, pesticides, and other persistent organic pollutants. The data and generated information is used in many different reporting activities including the Water Quality Index under the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators, CESI, annual report (http://www.environmentandresources.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=6F66F932-1).

Some of the key obligations and legislative responsibilities that Environment Canada's monitoring activities fall under include: Canadian Environmental Protection Act, CEPA, ministerial statutory obligation to monitor and report on environmental quality to Canadians; Boundary Waters Treaty Act, obligations to the International Joint Commission and the parties; and Canada Water Act, provides for federal-provincial and federal-territorial agreements to monitoring and assess waters of shared interest.

In response to (c), the government monitors the quality of surface water through (a), Environment Canada monitoring and surveillance sites; (b) formal cost and capacity sharing agreements with provinces and territories; and (c) collaborative monitoring and surveillance programs among federal science and technology departments and university researchers.

Sampling of water bodies is done on a regular or ad hoc basis several times a year for a wide range of physical parameters, chemical contaminants and biological measures, e.g., temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, trace metals, pesticides, presence and diversity of aquatic biota. Sampling locations take into account the diverse contaminant sources and water quality threats such as urban wastewaters, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff and atmospheric deposits. In addition to physical-chemical monitoring, we have started to establish a network of biological monitoring that will allow assessing impacts and effects of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems health.

In response to (d), the current program provides an adequate picture for basic water quality measures and contaminants in areas of the country where spatial and temporal coverage has been established for some time, e.g., large basins such as the Great Lakes. However, in most basins or watersheds across Canada, the government’s understanding of the types and levels of contaminants in surface waters varies.

Nationally, we monitor about a third of total sub-basins under the routine monitoring programs, which mainly address metals and nutrients. Surveillance projects focusing on toxic organic contaminants--pesticides--PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, PBDEs, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and other CEPA toxics are more spatially restricted to watersheds potentially threatened.

Question No. 211
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

With regard to industrial development at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport: (a) what data was used by Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service to conclude the absence of colonies of migratory birds, species at risk listed under the Species at Risk Act, or wetlands in the vicinity of an area slated for industrial development at the airport and currently used as a golf course; and (b) when and how was this data collected?

Question No. 211
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service indicated that the available data showed no colonies of migratory birds in the vicinity of the project area. A colony can be defined as a group of birds that nest in a gregarious manner, have been returning to the same area for several years and build their nests close together. Several species of seabirds and herons, for instance, live in colonies. It also indicated that it found no species considered at risk under the Species at Risk Act, or wetlands. Wetlands are defined as land that is saturated in water long enough to be conducive to the wetland or aquatic processes characterized by poorly drained soil, hydrophilic vegetation and various forms of biological activity that are suited to a damp environment. Wetlands include bogs, marshes, swamps and shallow water, usually two metres or less, as defined in The Canadian Wetland Classification System, published by the Canadian Committee on Ecological Land Classification’s National Wetlands Working Group, 1987.

The data used by Environment Canada in providing this reply are the same as are used for any environmental impact assessment, i.e., one, data gathered by its employees during inventories, two, databases developed by Environment Canada or in partnership with other government agencies and non government organizations, and three, databases provided by other organizations that use volunteers and amateur ornithologists and that are supported financially by Environment Canada. Environment Canada is confident that these data sources provide reliable information for this environmental assessment.

In this case, Environment Canada scientists consulted the following information:

The Centre de données sur le patrimoine naturel du Québec, Quebec natural heritage data centre: The centre's mission consists of gathering, storing, analyzing and distributing data on elements of biodiversity, in particular those elements, and occurrences thereof, with the greatest conservation value. Currently, the data management system contains more than 10,500 occurrences of various elements related mainly to threatened or vulnerable species, namely 375 vascular plants and 79 vertebrate animals. In the near future, certain groups of invertebrates, i.e., molluscs and insects, natural communities and animal assemblages will be added to the elements of biodiversity already being tracked. This information is updated annually.

The Étude des populations d’oiseaux du Québec, population studies of Quebec’s birds, database: The population studies of Quebec’s birds database contains an electronic version of recorded daily bird sightings in Quebec. For more than 50 years, several Quebec ornithologists have systematically recorded their daily observations on these records. To date, there is a bank of more than 450,000 records of daily bird watching outings, containing more than 6,300,000 sightings. This information is updated annually.

Endangered birds in Quebec: The work performed by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec, Quebec department of natural resources and wildlife, and the Canadian Wildlife Service’s Regroupement Québec Oiseaux has resulted in a new list of species deemed to be at risk in Quebec. This project also includes a database, SOS-POP, on the location of the various species. This information is updated annually.

Black Duck Joint Venture: This program provides data for tracking changes in the number of nesting black ducks using an annual inventory in the species’ primary nesting area. Although it was developed to optimize the counting of black ducks, this aerial inventory also provides trends regarding numbers and estimates of populations of other wildlife species nesting in the boreal forest. This information was updated in 2005 in the sector in question.

Conservation Atlas of Wetlands in the St. Lawrence Valley: The primary objective of the atlas is to provide an overview of wetlands in the St. Lawrence Valley using innovative methods for mapping the area in order to promote the conservation of birds and biodiversity, particularly by helping managers in their decision making regarding the use of land and the conservation of natural environments. This information was last updated five years ago.

The aquatic birds of the St. Lawrence: This information base provides an overview of the distribution, status and trends of the populations of seabirds and certain colonial aquatic birds nesting in Quebec. It must be noted, however, that the information available is much more comprehensive for seabirds in the St. Lawrence estuary and the Gulf. This information is about three years old for the sector in question.

Biodiversity Portrait of the St. Lawrence: The portrait provides land planners with detailed information regarding the habitats and biota of sites requiring urgent or priority conservation, restoration or protection. It allows the biologists responsible for evaluating the environmental impacts of development to make more informed recommendations earlier regarding biodiversity in the Quebec portion of the St. Lawrence. This information is about 10 years old.

Question No. 212
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

With regard to Canada’s obligations under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: (a) since the government ratified the Convention on November 27, 2004, what measures has it taken to bring Canadian law into conformity with article 11 regarding the labelling of tobacco products; and (b) what is the date by which the government intends to require warning labels that conform with the Convention to be affixed to all tobacco products sold in Canada?

Question No. 212
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), Canada is a party to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, FCTC, which came into force on February 27, 2005. Article 11, packaging and labelling of tobacco products, of the FCTC requires each party to the convention, within three years after coming into force, for that party to adopt and implement, in accordance with its national law, effective measures to ensure that each tobacco package carry health warnings describing the harmful effects of tobacco use. Article 11 further states that the health warnings ”should be 50% or more of the principal display areas but shall be no less than 30%”. For Canada, the three year implementation period ended on February 27, 2008.

In 2000, Canada enacted its tobacco products information regulations which meet or exceed the requirements of Article 11 of the FCTC for the most part, as more than 95% of the Canadian market is currently in full compliance with the convention obligations. However, the tobacco products not presently covered by the tobacco products information regulations include individually wrapped cigars and niche market products, such as water pipe tobacco. In addition, the health warnings for cigars in a box and pipe tobacco contained in a pouch being of fixed dimensions may not meet the Convention’s requirement to occupy no less than 30% of the principal display areas in certain circumstances.

As a result, the Government of Canada, in anticipation of the need to revise and expand its tobacco products information regulations, began holding public consultations in 2004 with a view to strengthening the regulatory framework. A large amount of labelling concepts, contents and layout, has been tested. As part of the ongoing regulatory change process, in 2007 08, stakeholder meetings have been taking place. Finally, work on the cost benefit analysis is expected to start in the summer of 2008. The government is ensuring that the regulatory process is followed to produce comprehensive regulations that will comply with Article 11 of FCTC and be of benefit to Canadians.

In response to (b), it is expected that new labelling requirements addressing the remaining tobacco products and bringing Canada into full compliance with Article 11 of the FCTC will be in place in October 2010.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

April 9th, 2008 / 3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 205 and 206 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 205
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

With regards to application of Section 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) since September 2007: (a) which criteria contained in the Federal Prosecution Service Deskbook does the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions use in determining whether it is in the public interest to charge humanitarian aid workers under Section 117 of the IRPA; (b) what directives has the Director of Public Prosecutions given to regional Canadian Border Services Agents and regional officers in the Public Prosecution Service of Canada regarding the application of these criteria; and (c) what directives has the Attorney General issued to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the application of section 117 of the IRPA in cases where charges have been laid against humanitarian aid workers?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 206
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

With respect to Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization (CAIS) program entitlement, the appeals process and exclusion from entitlement to other federal agricultural programs: (a) are appellants entitled to know what recommendations are made by the Western Amalgamated Appeals Sub-Committee and, if so, how is a copy of the recommendations obtained by the appellant; (b) are appellants entitled to know on what grounds the Intermediate Appeals Sub-Committee rejects recommendations of the Western Amalgamated Appeals Sub-Committee and, if so, how is a copy of the recommendations obtained by the appellant; (c) has the CAIS administration ever issued rejection letters to an appellant before or after soliciting the involvement of an appeals committee and, if so, how is a copy of the motion or other directive permitting this obtained by the appellant; (d) who is responsible for forwarding recommendations made by the Western Amalgamated Appeals Sub-Committee to the next level of appeal; (e) are there any legitimate grounds upon which the National CAIS Committee (NCC) administration is allowed to refuse an appellant the full extent of an appeal by neglecting to forward the recommendations of the Western Amalgamated Appeals Sub-Committee to the next level of appeal; (f) does the appeal process deal with appeals on a case by case basis or can the NCC administration short-circuit the appeals process based on a judgment that an appellant's complaint is just like the one that may have preceded it; (g) are there guidelines established that would give an appellant a reasonable expectation of the time it should take to address an appeal at all the various levels and, if so, what are the guidelines that govern a reasonable expectation; (h) is the appellant justified in expecting that the decisions made by appeals committees will be communicated to the appellant; (i) what are the circumstances under which it would be acceptable not to inform the appellant of decisions made by appeal committees; (j) is it a reasonable expectation on the part of the appellant to expect that the decision of their appeal would not be discussed by the NCC administration, to the public or a competitor without the approval of the appellant and, if so, what recourse is open to the appellant if this expectation has not been respected; (k) would the public circulation of a decision made by the NCC administration without the appellant's express permission constitute a “moral hazard” for the purposes of the Principles of the Transition Agreements, section 14.1.3; (l) would such an action call into question the integrity of the appeals process and compromise the quality and legitimacy of the decisions and decision making process, as they applied to the appellant; (m) how many times is it acceptable to change the reasons that are given to a producer for their exclusion from a program; (n) when a historically precedent-setting change to the eligibility criteria of producers to Business Risk Management (BRM) programs are made, who bears the responsibility of ensuring that these changes in direction are clearly and adequately communicated to the agents of the program and who bears the responsibility to articulate these precedent-setting changes in the guidelines; (o) is the producer under any obligation to demand of the purchaser an accounting or history of the purchaser's previous use of the product in order that the producer may be eligible for BRM and, if so, what is the justification for this under the CAIS program; (p) if the purchaser’s intended end use of the product changes after the purchase has been made, is the producer then entitled to re-apply, if they have previously been denied program funding because of the purchaser’s stated intended end use of the product; (q) what level of appeal hears issues that may pertain to situations where the guidelines are in conflict with other over-riding legislation or previous implementation agreements and does this level have any authority to bring resolution to a conflict;

(r) what is the duty of the NCC administration to ensure that they are correctly following their legislative duty to Parliament to act in accordance with the legislation; (s) are the administrators of the CAIS program accountable to the government if they fail to act in accordance with the legislation and statutes; (t) what avenues are open to the appellant once the appeal process comes to an end, if they can show that the legislation and duly signed implementation agreements have not been followed; (u) are there any circumstances under which the NCC is allowed to approve the implementation of guidelines that are inconsistent with legislation and, if so, where in the legislation is that entitlement articulated; and (v) what avenues are open to the appellant to prevent the NCC administration from moving a matter to Revenue Canada for collection, once all avenues under the appeals process have failed, when there are conflicts between legislation and program guidelines?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.