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

Taxation
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians who support changing an existing tax loophole that provides and unfair advantage to large retail cooperatives and harms small to medium size retailers. At present, large retail cooperatives can avoid paying corporate income tax due to the way they are structured.

This petition was circulated at over 200 bicycle retailers across Canada including several in Vancouver Quadra. It calls on Parliament to change the tax laws to allow small and medium size businesses to compete on a level playing field with large retail co-ops.

Small and medium size businesses are often locally owned and integral to their communities. During a time of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to have fair tax treatment for small and medium size businesses so they can survive and ultimately thrive.

Asbestos
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from thousands of Canadians who draw the attention of the House to the fact that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known and the fact that more people now die from asbestos than all other industrial causes combined.

Yet, the petitioners point that Canada is still the world's second largest producer and exporter of this deadly carcinogen. They also point out that Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and blocking international efforts to curb its use.

These petitioners call upon Parliament to ban asbestos in all of its forms, end all government subsidies of asbestos both in Canada and abroad, and stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam convention.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, question No. 58 will be answered today.

Question No. 58
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

With respect to the participation activity and limitation survey PALS, as part of the Canadian census: is the government planning on withdrawing support for the PALS being part of the upcoming census?

Question No. 58
Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, HRSDC remains committed to ensuring that the data required to support disability-related policy development, program delivery and reporting are available. The feasibility of a 2011 PALS, as well as alternative options for disability data collection are being evaluated currently.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

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

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Marine Liability Act and the Federal Courts Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

When the debate was interrupted for question period, the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca had the floor. There are eight minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks and I therefore call upon the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will get to the last part of my speech. I was getting into the part about the fact that human activities are the biggest threat to our oceans. As I said before, 17 of the major fisheries in the world are depleted, overfished and becoming extinct. This is a catastrophic problem.

Global warming is causing sea levels to rise. Many pesticides and nutrients are getting into the ocean system. Factories and industrial pollutants are pouring into the oceans. Air pollution is responsible for one-third of the toxic contaminants and nutrients that enter our coastal waters. Invasive species are causing greater problems.

There are solutions out there and I am going to provide some of them. Number one is to establish marine protective parks. On the coast of British Columbia there are a number of areas that can and should be protected.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, who hails from Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the Scripps Research Institute in California, one of the world's leading oceanographers, has repeatedly called for the protection of areas in the world where fish species go to become larger and reproduce. The failure to protect these areas, which are unregulated and unprotected, will result in the massive demise of major fish species that are the cornerstone species not only in the oceans but also critical to the lives of people across our globe.

We fish and the fish will not be available, a major source of protein. What are we going to do when that source dries up? We have a serious problem and we have to act now.

There needs to be an elimination of destructive fishing practices, like ocean dragging. Ocean dragging destroys ecosystems on the ocean floors. It must be banned. I expect that the government can work with us to provide leadership in that area.

We all know what climate change is. What does not receive enough attention is the impact of climate change on our oceans. Oceans act as a carbon dioxide sink. They also produce oxygen. As temperatures rise, the ability of oceans to absorb carbon dioxide and oxygen, quite frankly, diminishes. The decrease in carbon dioxide absorption results in a feedback loop that actually causes a worsening of climate change.

This is the horror story before us. Once these feedback loops begin, they cannot be stopped. The increase in ocean temperatures resulting in a decrease in oxygen results in the death of fisheries because these anoxic areas are created that do not have any oxygen. The absence of oxygen will kill fish. It is critically important that we start to address this issue.

On the issue of climate change, we are going to look at Copenhagen, which is really Kyoto 2. I am going to present a solution that I think can be quite innovative.

The forests of the world are actually giant utilities. These utilities provide us with an ability, through photosynthesis, to produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide. That is what photosynthesis is. As we slash, burn and cut these forests of the world, including our own, it results in a decrease in the carbon dioxide consumption or the carbon sink capabilities but it also reduces the production of oxygen. The great forests of the world are utilities but we do not pay for them. There is no value in them. The only value they have right now is, frankly, to cut them down.

What if we were to change the way we think about the forests of the world? What if we were to look at the forests of the world as giant utilities that provide a benefit, which they do? They produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide. What if we paid not to cut down the forests? What if we were able to provide a value for those forests? That can be done.

It is estimated that every forest can absorb about 200 tonnes of carbon every single year. At a price of $10 per tonne of carbon, that is $2,000 per hectare. In the case of Indonesia, for example, it would be mean over $2 billion would go to Indonesia not to cut its forests down. Putting a value on carbon and a value, therefore, on the forests because of their ability to consume carbon produces a value for the forests and for the people who have them. They could then produce carbon credits which could then be sold to generate money for their communities.

This is particularly important in developing countries. Herein lies the opportunity for CIDA. CIDA deals with human development. The Department of Environment deals with environment. The twain do not meet. There is a chasm between the two that has never been connected.

If we are to address the issue of climate change and the issue of human development, then environment and human development are two halves of the same whole. The way to connect them is through CIDA and the Department of the Environment working together so Kyoto 2, or the negotiations that will take place in Copenhagen, will produce a system where carbon has a price and forests have value.

Looking at forests as a giant public utility, moneys can accrue, so cutting down the forests would be unnecessary. That would arrest the horrible situation occurring around the world, which is the destruction of forests. The destruction is not only the cutting down of the forests, but in many cases they are being burned. In the burning of the forests, we see the release of greenhouse gases. It is a terrible situation.

Canada can provide leadership. Not many people are talking about the solution, but I firmly believe our ability to move forward, putting a price on carbon, putting a value on forests and paying for not cutting them down, will ensure that the people see value in keeping those forests, which would benefit the people surrounding them. In other words, when we benefit people, we also benefit our environment.

With respect to global warming, it is critically important that the government looks at best practices. It should be engaging, interacting and showing leadership rather than following. South of the border President Obama has chosen to take this with both hands and address the problem, as opposed to what happened in the eight years prior to that.

Our government, tragically, is cutting and choking off the funds for significant climate change groups in Canada, particularly those attached to universities. There is a network, partly at the University of Victoria, and Professor Weaver sits on the international panel for climate change, which won the Nobel prize. However, the government is choking off those funds. It is cutting the funds to this network, which has been built over the last several years to deal with climate change. Tragically, this will remove the very solutions we want.

I have provided a number of solutions for the government to improve our oceans, our navigable waters and our environment. We, in the Liberal Party, strongly want to work with the government to improve the bill to ensure that it addresses the concerns of Canadians.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the hon. member's comments on Bill C-7. How will passing Bill C-7 help to promote marine protected parks and ocean dragging and stop climate change, about which he spoke so eloquently?

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the fact is it will not, but we provide this opportunity for the government. We, in the opposition, can work together. All political parties, all members are offering the government solutions.

The government can put forth solutions to eliminate dragging and have a comprehensive strategy to deal with our oceans. It can take a leadership role rather than a subservient role on the issue of protecting marine areas in Canada and throughout the world, critical marine areas for the protection of species, many of which we consume as foodstuffs. The government also needs to work with first nations groups, which are willing partners to make this happen.

We need to do many things on climate change, on species protections and on reducing pollution. The solutions are out there. It requires leadership. It requires focus. It requires the Conservatives to do their job, rather than sitting back and thinking that other countries and other groups will do it for them. They will not.

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I did not catch the intervention of my colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca prior to question period, but I fully appreciate the fact that his comments are in an overall context. He talks about the impact of dragging and bottom dragging on the entire ecosystem. We would hope that we work toward trying to reduce the impact on the overall ecosystem.

However, part of the bill is troubling. I know we want to send this to committee so we can find out whether enough is enough or just what is enough. I know just prior to the start of the last year's offshore lobster fishing season, a vessel, the Shovel Master, went down just off the coast of Yarmouth. It contained 70,000 litres of diesel oil. It sank on one of the most fertile lobster grounds just off the coast of Nova Scotia, so there is a great concern there.

I know the legislation addresses a number of different elements. I know it implements rules to make Canada's laws consistent with international protocols. There is one aspect on which I would like the member to comment, and maybe we will find this out in committee. I would appreciate his insight on the supplementary fund protocol that increases the amount of compensation to $1.5 billion. I know my colleague is very well aware of issues like the Exxon Valdez and so forth. Where does the $1.5 billion compensation fit in the whole scheme of things? Will that be enough? We understand the costs involved in these cleanups somewhat, but could I get his take on the limit of $1.5 billion in the legislation?

Marine Liability Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my friend from Cape Breton—Canso has always worked extremely hard for his constituents on the east coast. Again, we are two bookends from the east and west coasts who have some similar problems.

The fact is we need know from the government how the fund will be managed, what the accountability will be and how the government will use it. Frankly, there are a lot of new technologies out there to deal with spills and to protect the environment and cleanups. We have not heard from the government how it will attract, identify and utilize those new technologies. It would be wise for the government to do this so we can ensure we get the best bang for the buck.

My colleague comes from the east coast. We do not want to see on the west coast a repeat of the cod fishery's disaster that occurred on the east coast. It speaks to a failure of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, a failure of management, to listen to the scientists, to look at the science and to do the right thing for a sustainable fishery, whether it is on the east or the west coasts.

This is such an urgent problem for all those users of fisheries on the east and west coasts. We strongly recommend that the government listen to the people who are involved so we can adopt the best practices and do it now.