House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.

Topics

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my colleague's comments. It is unfortunate that the reason he has so much familiarity with this is the number of spills that have happened in and around his constituency and in the waters around Vancouver.

I represent one of the longest coastlines on the west coast of any constituency in Canada. It is under constant push and agitation by the current government and the previous government. My hon. colleague mentioned the notions of drilling in the near shore between Haida Gwaii and the mainland, which the government seems very determined to have happen in conjunction with Gordon Campbell's government and Victoria.

Recently I attended a talk by some of the folks who were involved in the cleanup operations from the Exxon Valdez. Unfortunately we have just marked the 20-year anniversary of that disaster. That is still along Alaska's coast. The penalties against Exxon have been reduced almost to nothing. The courts initially awarded some $2.5 billion and that recently was reduced down to some 20% of the original award. However, on those coastlines that are marked clean by the company, if we dig less than a foot down, the water that fills that hole is still filled with oil. It continues to linger year after year.

Around these regulations, how secure must Canadians feel about the type of efforts coming from a pro-oil government in terms of the environmental components and the protection that is afforded to communities that rely on these waterways and oceans for their very survival?

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague. It is a very crucial issue. I have often heard that even in the cleanup on the shoreline of Burrard Inlet after these oil spills, today we can pick up a rock on the beach and find oil underneath that rock. Even though all efforts were taken to appropriately clean up that coastline, there have been difficulties and it is never quite complete. There is always more to be done.

It shows the limitation of efforts to clean up. It shows the limitation of establishing liability for these accidents, because no matter how far we go to try to undo the effects of these oil spills, those cause permanent and ongoing damage to our environment and to our coastline.

We may be upping the liability amounts, but that still does not make it any better in terms of dealing with the consequences of these accidents. Therefore, preventing them is very crucial. At the same time, we have to make sure that, in covering the cost of cleanup, ensuring the protection of communities and animals is seen as part of the cost of doing that kind of business and is calculated into the costs of those industries.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member referred a couple of times to making the user pay.

Businesses carry insurance. I guess one of the issues really is that when the insurance premiums get so high, all of a sudden those businesses have to decide whether they are going to be in the business or whether they are going to introduce other safeguards.

I wonder whether the member would agree that another consequential area, not particularly for this bill, may very well be to look at the kinds of investments that we should be promoting and supporting with regard to the technology of cleanup and how to deal with mitigating the obviously horrific damage that can be caused to wildlife and to the ecoculture of areas of spills.

That to me seems to be a compatible area of concern that the government has not brought forward but perhaps should.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member has raised a good question. The technology of cleanup is something that we need to be constantly working at and improving.

We know that sometimes the actual cleanup is not always the greatest for the environment either. Some of the detergents used have their own effects on the environment as well, but given the kinds of circumstances that exist when these accidents happen, this is a measure that has to be taken and is not yet perfected in terms of other causes and damages that may result from that.

However, I think it goes to the importance of making sure that we have the best possible technologies for this. It goes to the importance of supporting those organizations that are working on that kind of operation. It goes to supporting the kinds of research that go into those sorts of technologies.

There are times when we know what it would take to do that and we back away because of the economic cost. I think we have to have a different measure. We have to set the bar in a different place that values the environmental costs of transporting oil, of using bunker oil to fuel our ships, of locating pipelines near our shorelines, to make sure that we have taken every precaution and that we have worked for the best interest of the environment.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, let me say at the outset that I will be supporting this legislation. It establishes limits and guidelines for liability for marine and domestic travel of people and cargo. It also puts our country in line with some of the other international protocol and codes dealing with liability at sea, including the civil liability fund, the bunkers convention fund, and the ship-source oil pollution fund.

Make no mistake about it: This is a major industry here in Canada. It is vital to our way of life. We are an extremely large country. We border three oceans. In terms of some statistics, 365 million tonnes of international cargo move within Canadian waters; 70 million tonnes of oil, 70 million tonnes of domestic cargo, 40 million passengers, and 16 million automobiles move within our ferries along the coasts. We also have the movement of 1.5 million cruise-ship passengers. It can easily be seen how large an industry this is for a country the size of Canada, with its many waterways and coastlines.

The bill tries to create a balance, and I believe it does to a certain extent. The country needs a very good, functioning, efficient, economical marine industry. We need a competitive industry. We cannot in any way, shape or form discourage new industry entrants that meet all the applicable legislation and guidelines. Probably most importantly when we are dealing with the carriage of people and cargo by sea, we have to protect the public and its environment—the wildlife, coastal sea properties, people's lives, the loss of cargo, et cetera.

I have first-hand knowledge of these issues. I come from an island. Until 1997, except for a few people moving by air, everything and everybody that arrived in the province came by ferry. It is very similar now for Newfoundland and for Vancouver Island.

A very important issue that is debated in the House and to which the bill is very applicable is the projected increase of marine traffic along our northern coast through the Arctic. Again that leads to a whole host of other issues, problems and challenges that this country will have to deal with, especially the potential for environmental problems.

There was some attempt to sell this bill as environmental protection legislation. I have read the legislation and I do not believe it is. It is basically to codify some of the systems that presently exist internationally and also to create a balance as to civic liability for damages to people or cargo.

Dealing with the environment, I want to point out that movement by sea is probably the most environmentally friendly way to move people and goods. It is an industry that is growing technologically. It is an industry that I see has a great future and it is one that we have to be careful about legislatively.

I am going to digress here for a minute. I have indicated how important this industry is, how big it is and how vital it is to our economy. However, for those people who look at the cruise ships going up the west coast, the cargo vessels going up the St. Lawrence River, and the many vessels going up and down the Atlantic seaboard, the unfortunate part of this equation is that the vast majority of those boats and ships are not built in Canada.

We have strategies for the automobile, forestry, agriculture and fishery industries. Shipbuilding, for different reasons, just has not received the focus or attention of this House, from the federal government, or perhaps in some instances the provincial government, that it ought to have. I am pleading with my colleagues here in the House of Commons to, please, let us get together and develop a national shipbuilding strategy so that this industry can become vibrant once again, as it was 100 years ago.

This act tries to create a balance between the civic liability imposed upon the owner and operator of the cargo vessel and what the public expects. If we did not have some sort of limited liability, I could see a situation where it would be extremely difficult for new entrants to get into the industry because liability is basically unlimited.

For a small ferry transporting 30 people across a small body of water, if some incident did happen, the liability would be in the millions and could extend to the billions of dollars. In carrying even a small quantity of bunker oil or petroleum products, the liability could reach the billions of dollars, as in the case of the Exxon Valdez, for which I understand the total tally was $2.4 billion. We are talking about horrendous situations that could go right off the map, which a private insurance carrier would not cover for a small operator.

The bill tries to balance that. It does limit the liability per passenger to a certain level so that the smaller company, the new company, and even the larger companies can then go to a private carrier and get insurance coverage for their activities.

It also codifies it. There is a lot of provision right now, but it provides for a fund for anyone transporting oil within Canadian waters. If there are incidents that occur as we have seen with the Exxon Valdez, or the tanker that ran aground on the Atlantic coast, the Irving Whale, there is a fund out there administered by the Government of Canada for these incidents. I believe the total liability under the legislation is $565 million per incident, to fund the liability. Of course, this is paid for by those companies that transport oil. Basically that is the fund and this codifies that situation.

It brings us in line with some of the other foreign conventions and protocol. Most of the ships that enter our waters are not Canadian made or Canadian owned, so there has to be an international protocol.

Of course, with any of the problems that do exist, even the situation in the Bay of Fundy now where vessels go through there with liquified natural gas, there could be jurisdictional issues between the United States and Canada. According to all the projections, there will be vessels in the Far North, and that could have jurisdictional implications between Canada and Russia and between Canada and other countries. These all have to be set according to international conventions and international protocol. That is dealt with in this particular act.

This legislation has been kicking around for a while. I believe it started as a white paper issued by the Department of Transport five or six years ago. The legislation was actually before the previous Parliament.

It is a difficulty we are seeing quite often in this situation where we have had three minority governments and a lot of prorogations. Legislation comes to the House and is debated and approved, but when an election is called or prorogation is issued, everything dies on the order paper and we are back here again. So I am hoping with this particular legislation that it will go to the committee.

It is not a perfect piece of legislation, but the committee will deal with it. They will try to correct any deficiencies they find and bring it back to the House and it will become legislation for this country. I am hoping that happens as soon as possible.

I should point out also that I believe when it started four or five years ago with the white paper there was extensive consultation with all the industry stakeholders, and it was brought to the previous Parliament.

It is something that the House should move on. It has to go to committee to be studied, but I would like to see it back in the House within the next couple of months.

It is not perfect. There are a number of issues that previous speakers have raised. I agree with the whole issue of the adventure tourism exemptions and whether they should or should not be included in the legislation. It should be reviewed again by the committee, allow it to hear from experts and come back with a final draft of this particular legislation.

As I said before, it is really not an environmental protection act. It is an act that creates a balance as between the legitimate interests of businesses in the marine industry and the protection of the public, which is the mandate of the Government of Canada.

In conclusion, this issue has been around for three, four, perhaps five years. We have gone through this before. I am hoping that this matter goes to committee, comes back and becomes the law of this country within the next short period of time.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague, who comes from the east coast, and we are bookends in our country, has a deep interest in fisheries. I would like to ask him a simple question.

We know that the oceans are dying, that a third of all mammal species are dying, and that overfishing has taken 17 of the major fisheries in the world. They have all been fished to overcapacity.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague, does he not think that this situation is so urgent and pressing that the federal government needs to bring together provincial counterparts to develop an integrated fisheries strategy that would deal with fisheries on the west coast, in the Arctic and on the east coast, so we will arrest the death of our fisheries, which has a huge impact upon foodstuffs, the environment, and all the other species that feed other fish? One example is the Arctic cod. They are small fish essential to the health of the Arctic Ocean.

The Finns are going to fish this particular species with no restriction, no barriers, no guidelines, and no oversight whatsoever. If this bill goes through, it would have a profound impact upon the health of the species in the north and the Inuit who live there.

Would my hon. colleague suggest that the government needs to be urgently seized with this issue and start to take responsibility for its role as the federal Government of Canada in dealing with this pressing problem?

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I will not have enough time to answer this question. This is a very important and complex question.

The member is quite correct. There are real problems going on in our oceans. He talked about the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans convening a meeting with the provincial ministers. Yes, definitely, that is a good idea. She should do it as soon as possible but equally important is need for a stronger mandate in the international fora dealing with all the countries that go into these areas that are outside the 200 mile zone, rape the seabeds and catch everything in their midst. That is causing a negative cycle in the whole ecosystem.

As the member has indicated, many of the species that previously existed in the seabeds are gone. Once they are gone, they are not coming back. This is an important issue that requires national attention, the state of the fishery, the methodology used by the fishery and the environmental degradation, but it also requires extensive international co-operation and legislation dealing with the overfishing that is taking place in every ocean of the world.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, my compliments to my colleague from Prince Edward Island on raising matters relative to the Marine Liabilities Act. He raised two issues that I would like him to address in greater detail.

One of them is of course the economic impact on the shipping industry, not only as a carrier of cargo and people but in fact as an economic stimulus for those maritime provinces, in particular not only his own but Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

In addition to that, he did raise the economic viability of these carriers and the issue of ensuring both cargo and the protocols associated with being able to protect the environment against the failure of the carriers themselves to deliver their cargo safely and efficiently to a port without damaging the environment.

Because of his background as a lawyer, who has dealt a great deal both with insurance and with the commerce of transporting product that can have a deleterious effect to the environment, I wonder whether he has thought through the possibility of the insurance as a component of the cost of doing business and weighing that against the needs of society for an environment and an ecosystem that needs to be protected.

I noted he made reference to both in his speech, but I wonder if he would elaborate on that for us, because he did indicate that he wanted the committee to focus much more attention on it and to fine-tune this bill.

Being a member of that committee, I wonder if he would share with this House, and with me in particular, the ideas that he would like us to proceed with and to follow, so that the legislation does fit with the intent of what I think is a very thoughtful presentation on his part.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, on the first point, my friend, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, talked about the economic impact. In one word, it is a mess.

He talked about the maritime regions and of course it is important for Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, as well as British Columbia, but I would suggest it is equally important for Quebec, Ontario and the prairie provinces because a lot of what we produce, whether it is lumber, minerals or grain, moves by sea. That is the most economic and environmental way to move product. A lot of it that comes into the country too comes by sea.

We are a large country. We are a country surrounded by three oceans so it is extremely important and vital. That is why we need a very vibrant marine industry, one that is competitive and one that does not discourage new entrants.

On his second issue, again I come back to the issue of balance. We have to balance the interests of the company and the interests of society to have a vibrant marine industry, but also the interest to protect the public.

If we did not have legislation like this, I believe it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a new entrant ever to get into the market. There would be all kinds of problems just legislating or dealing with this situation. With vessels from other countries and flags of convenience that come into our ports, what insurance do they have? Can they withstand a cull if there is an environmental problem?

This act seeks to create a balance so that there are international conventions that are respected, that there are both domestic and international funds, and so that things can move by sea. There is a similar process in the airline industry. It works well in that industry and certainly it has served us well in the marine industry.

As to the amendments, as previous speakers have already indicated, there is an issue around some of the tourist products that are exempt, and the committee may want to have another look at that particular issue.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, in Bill C-10, the government made a change. It attached changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act to that bill which had nothing to do with the budget whatsoever.

The right of Canadians and indeed all people to have access to navigable waters has really been protected in law at the federal level. It goes way back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, but these changes are going to severely compromise the ability of Canadians to have access to navigable waters.

These changes that the government has put forward are potentially going to allow the government, by the minister's fiat, to remove whole sections of navigable waters and put them into private hands without any proper environmental assessment or any proper consultation whatsoever.

I would like to ask my friend this. Does he not think that the right thing for the government to do would be to go back, take those elements of Bill C-10 that dealt with the Navigable Waters Protection Act, send it to committee and address the Navigable Waters Protection Act in an open and transparent fashion to ensure that all Canadians from coast to coast can have access to the tributaries that we have always had access to up until now?

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I agree with the premise of that question, that the elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act provisions that were included in the budget had nothing to do with the finances of Canada. It was not a budgetary matter. Why was it in that particular legislation? Canadians are just shaking their heads. They do not agree with that at all. It is the wrong way to go.

I understand that improvements perhaps should have been made. There are jurisdictional issues sometimes between the provincial legislation dealing with waterways and the federal legislation, but that could have been improved upon instead of just eliminating it altogether.

What should be done? Nothing has been done. As the previous speaker, the member for Mississauga South indicated, this is an issue of whether or not we just throw the whole thing out then suspend the House for six months and let it go through. There is nothing that has been done that cannot be redone by a new government. That is perhaps what Canada needs at this point in time, a new government.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this bill. Three areas of my riding of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca are surrounded by the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The Straits of Juan de Fuca curve around the southwestern part of my riding. It is truly a gorgeous part of the world and I invite everybody to come down and visit.

This bill is particularly important, not only to my riding but also to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It does have some good parts to it but I will outline some of the flaws, the neglect and the disinterest that the government has applied to our oceans and waterways since it came into power. I also will provide the government with solutions that will enable it to do the right thing and make changes that are reflective of the public interest with respect to the management of our oceans and of our navigable waters.

We know that our oceans provide life. Ninety-seven percent of the world's water is in our oceans, made up of 3% of salt, and 1.35 billion cubic kilometers of water exists in our oceans. From the phytoplankton that provides the cornerstone and the basis of the food pyramid to the larger mammal species, it is truly a remarkable thing to behold.

The oceans are also critically important to our lives. I will go through a number of things that will outline the problems and solutions that affect our oceans that only urgent action will address.

Before I go on, I want to deal with the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act because they are extremely important to all Canadians. As I said before, navigable waters are designed, if one can navigate through it, it is determined to be a Crown property and therefore subject to federal regulation. To arrest that, the government, in parts of Bill C-10 that it put forward, eliminated environmental assessments with few exceptions for development products on Canadian waterways. Second, it allowed Canadian rivers to be separated into those that were deemed to be worthy of being protected from those that were not deemed to be worthy of being protected. These classifications would be made not in a public forum, but in cabinet, in-House with no public assessment and no public input, in secret. Fourth, these decisions could be made on political expediency without any effort to apply science, research and environmental protection.

In my view we need to, first, restore the existing environmental assessment requirements; second, remove the minister's discretion on major construction projects as listed in the legislation, specifically dams, causeways, bridges and booms; and third, remove the power of government to arbitrarily divide Canada's rivers into those it considers worthy versus those it somehow considers less valuable.

The free passage of Canadians on our waterways goes as far back in history to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. However, in Bill C-10, the government ripped up that arrangement between the people of our country and their rights to the navigable waters of our nation. This will be a big issue in the next election. The government is now put on notice that it must make the changes or it will pay the price in the next election.

I want to speak to the issue of boats. In many of our ridings, people dump their boats into the ocean and walk away. There is no repercussion whatsoever for individuals who dump their boats into the ocean. These boats are an environmental hazard and a human hazard. In fact, a person in my riding was climbing into one of these boats and died as a result of it.

What the municipalities are finding is that the federal government will not take responsibility for the boats, nor will the individuals, and the province washes its hands. The municipalities now have an environmental problem with no ability to deal with it.

I call upon the government to deal with this issue and develop a process whereby the owners of these boats will be held responsible for removing them and, if they are not removed, the owners will be prosecuted. In my riding of Sooke, British Columbia, we have more than 20 boats that need to be removed because they are a hazard.

The largest boondoggle in Canadian history is about to take place in Victoria. It is a $2 billion sewage treatment plant that is not necessary at all and the science does not support it.

In British Columbia right now we have what is equivalent to secondary sewage treatment. The secondary sewage treatment happens as a result of the natural ebb and flow that exists within the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Contrary to the knowledge of some, sewage goes through, ends in an outfall and is sieved all the way through. Nothing larger than something that is six millimetres in diameter is actually released.

The problem that Victoria has, from an environmental perspective, is that its storm drainage system is fractured and it has become the source of the environmental hazards that we have now. It is a $2 billion infrastructure project of which the public will not get the gains that governments believe they will have. It will not remove the persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, toxins, pathogens and pharmaceuticals that we want to get out.

How do we deal with that? We invest in a storm drainage system and have better source control than what we have, and, for heaven's sake, do not pursue this $2 billion boondoggle that is about to happen in Victoria.

It is not by accident that I have on our side of those who are against this, six chief medical officers in the greater Victoria area who think this is a boondoggle. Eight of the top ocean scientists at the University of Victoria think this is a boondoggle. The responsible sewage treatment group is made up of six chief medical officers and more than ten top ocean scientists.

The government should listen to the science and to listen to the chief medical officers. They are the ones who know. They have the science. This current project is not following the science. I warn the government that it will run into a very serious problem of a $2 billion boondoggle that it will wear unless it deals with the science, listen to the facts and work together with the groups that can put forth the effective infrastructure projects that will deal with the problems that the government and those of us who live in Victoria are deeply concerned about. However, this is not the way to go.

On the issue of the Coast Guard, the government put forth a Coast Guard assessment for Victoria. I must say that the Straits of Juan de Fuca is one of the busiest shipping zones in the entire world. However, what is shocking is that Victoria has no close-by ability to respond with its Coast Guard to a crisis that will occur in and around Victoria. This is a problem that needs to be rectified.

The Coast Guard did an assessment. There are solutions that have been sitting there for years. A 40-plus foot boat is sitting in Sidney doing absolutely nothing. I urge the government to move that boat to Victoria to provide the rapid response that is needed for crises that can and will occur in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Ocean traffic is a very big concern for those of us who live on Vancouver Island. All of us know that if a tanker runs aground in the area we will have a catastrophic oil spill. We have had some misinformation and a lack of clarity on this particular issue. I strongly recommend that the government provide clarity on the use of double hulled ships in the straits and to provide an effective conduit for tankers so they will not go through areas that are narrow and where the threat of a tanker to run aground is very high.

That route needs to be established, clarified and communicated to the people of British Columbia. and it should be done as soon as possible.

The Arctic is a serious challenge. We know the government, justifiably, has a new interest in this, which we commend and applaud. However, there are aspects in the Arctic that need to be addressed. One of the central keystone species in the Arctic is a small Arctic cod. That Arctic cod is going to be fished by countries like Finland and that will have catastrophic impacts upon the other species that live in the region.

I will put this into context. This means that one-third of all sea mammal species are threatened or on the brink of extinction. This needs to be addressed because as these species are tied into the web of biodiversity that we have in our world, they are part of the chain of life. If we take out a part of that chain, then the rest of the chain can be negatively affected. We are a part of that food chain. I strongly recommend that the government deal with this.

The next point I want to make is on the issue of forestry practices. People in my province are cutting down trees right to the edge of salmon bearing streams. There is a severe lack of oversight and accountability and the impact is what we are seeing right now and one of the contributing factors of the collapse of our salmon species on the west coast. We do not want to see our fishermen in British Columbia fall to the same fate that happened on the east coast with the collapse of the cod fishery. We need to do things today to prevent the collapse of the salmon fishery on the west coast from happening so we can have a sustainable fishery within Canada on the west coast. I strongly urge the federal government to work with the provincial government to establish enforced forestry practices codes that do not allow companies to deforest right down to the water's edge.

In official development, we have an opportunity to deal with taking the forests of the world and indulge in something called REDD. REDD is a program that pays for critical habitats and forests to not be cut down. This could be part of Copenhagen, part of Kyoto 2. The minister could link up human development with environmental protection. There are solutions to that missing link and we will get to that, I am sure, after question period.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I regret cutting the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca off but he will be able to proceed with his speech after question period. There will be almost eight minutes left in the time allotted for his remarks when this debate resumes.

Visa Requirement
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I was proud to join the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to deliver some long-awaited good news to the Croatian Canadian community. The minister announced that our Conservative government was lifting the visa requirement on Croatia. This new change means that Croatians wanting to visit their family in Canada for birthdays and weddings, for business meetings, or as tourists will be able to do so without needing to apply for a visa. This will facilitate travel for Croatian citizens to Canada and will help improve ties between our two great countries.

Yesterday's announcement is another example of how, after years of Liberal neglect, our Conservative government is delivering real results for Canada's cultural communities. In fact, at yesterday's event, a Croatian community leader summed things up well when he said, “The Liberals never delivered for us and always expected us to deliver for them”.

Because of the actions of our Conservative government and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, the Croatian Canadian community and all of Canada's cultural communities now know which party they can count on to deliver results. It is the Conservative Party.

Alison Youngman
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Alison Youngman died peacefully at home on the morning of International Women's Day after a short but brutal battle with cancer.

Ms. Youngman was an award-winning senior partner at national law firm Stikeman Elliott, a strong advocate for Canadian women, and a champion of women's leadership.

A tireless contributor to her community, Alison served as chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, was an active volunteer at Out of the Cold, and was Canadian president of the International Women's Forum.

Alison was also a trailblazer and a champion of women in Canada's corporate community. She headed her firm's internationally recognized technology law group and spearheaded one of Bay Street's first maternity policies.

Sandra Martin of the The Globe and Mail described Alison as follows:

Adopted as a baby and raised as an only child, Alison Youngman created a family out of friends and colleagues. Known as the maestro of multitasking, she was a high-profile lawyer, an indefatigable volunteer for breast cancer research, a director of the International Women's Foundation, a mentor for other women and a devoted mother. In naming her a woman of distinction in 2004, the YWCA of Toronto lauded her for breaking “new ground for women in the legal profession” and for being “an influential and inspiring role model”.

Ms. Youngman is survived by her two sons, Chris and Phil, two brothers, a sister, and many, many friends.