House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was child.

Topics

Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being 6:07 p.m., the Houses will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from June 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-465, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. When this bill was last before the House, the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona had the floor and there are three minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks. I therefore call upon the hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to finish off the three remaining minutes of my speech regarding Bill C-465. The bill has the full support of everyone in all four parties in the House, so I do not imagine it will present a huge problem to get the bill passed through committee.

One of the aspects of the bill is that it would designate September 30, or perhaps the third Saturday in September, depending on how the committee develops it, as the national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day. We have to recognize that the United States has had such a heritage day since 1972. With the increased border changes over the last couple of years, with the United States now requiring passports for their citizens to return to the United States and with the global recession still not being quite resolved, there is a lot of pressure on tourism right now in Canada.

As I had been indicated before, in Manitoba, in northwestern Ontario and right across the country the fishing camps, tourist camps and all sorts of other camps are hurting. Numerous camps that rely on American tourists and cross-border tourism are finding that their business is down. I was told that business may be down as much as 30%. Therefore, we need to come to grips with how we can recover from that and get the hunters and fishers back to Canada to keep our industry alive.

One of the ideas that I have pushed in the past, which I know other people support, is that we should work with the Americans to reduce the price of passports. We have had various meetings with United States congresspeople and at every meeting the issue of having a bigger update of people applying for passports has been raised. At our last meetings in February, one congressman indicated that to get passports for just himself and his family was quite an expensive enterprise. We should be working at that level with the United States to try to reduce the cost of the passports to encourage more people to get them so we can get more tourism from the United States.

I cannot believe that my three minutes could possibly be over. I had so much more to talk about. I had some information on the buffalo hunt, which members will know was pointed to as an example of bad hunting practices where 60 million buffalo were practically wiped out. However, it has all been brought back by conservation and farmers and ranchers working to--

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Prince Edward--Hastings.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Madam Speaker, I stand today to address Bill C-465, An Act respecting a National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, that calls for September 23 of every year to be designated as a special day of recognition.

I give kudos to the member for Northumberland—Quinte West today for bringing forward this bill. He is a colleague and a neighbour. We share a pair of ridings that truly are a paradise for fishermen, hunters and people who love the outdoors. It is a rural community that recognizes that not only is this a passion and a way of life for many people, but it is also a serious form of income and support for the people in our ridings.

Most people are probably aware but for those who are not, the tourism sector is a major recipient of fishing and hunting activities and it is the largest employer in Canada. So it has a significant impact across this country.

A national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day would give Canadians an opportunity to celebrate the long-standing practices of hunting, trapping and fishing in Canada. It would recognize the contribution that Canada's hunters, trappers and anglers have made to the settlement of Canada.

By supporting Bill C-465, the Government of Canada is in line with a similar recognition that is already in place in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. The United States designated a national hunting and fishing day back in 1972.

Once again, I thank the member for Northumberland—Quinte West for bringing us up to date, for giving solid recognition to these activities and for making the public aware of just how important these activities are, not only to communities in rural areas but also to a number of urban areas. Most urban areas in this country have hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams either right beside them or very near to them. The citizens of those communities can also take advantage of these wonderful opportunities.

Bill C-465 celebrates multiple aspects of Canadian society. It celebrates the history of the forming of our nation. It celebrates our vast and diverse natural resources. It celebrates outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship. Canada's vast and diverse natural resources fuel the spirit of adventure in Canadians and captures the imagination of people from around the world.

Who, growing up, has not sat around a campfire singing Kumbaya or putting an arm around the shoulder of a friend or telling stories? Those are memories that most of us have never forgotten. That, of course, comes with the privilege and the possibility of being able to hunt or fish.

Many Canadians are active outdoors because they have access to a tremendous array of outdoor recreational facilities, with fishing in particular being one of Canada's most broadly pursued activities. I have a bit of personal history with fishing that I would like to bring forward to hon. members in the House and really close the loop on it.

As a youngster, I can recall leaving school with friends, grabbing an old bamboo pole and heading down to the lake that was about a mile and a half south of us. We would grab an old green line, stick it on the end of our pole and put a hook on it. On the way down to the lake we would overturn the stumps and the rocks and pick up a few worms or leeches and stick them in our pockets and then down to the lake we would go. We were so excited when we had our lines in the water and were able to entice a fish to grab on to it. I remember my first fish. I was so excited. I did not know what to do with it other than to take it off the hook and let it go again, which was fine because that fish was safe for another day.

This is almost like déjà vu. I was down at the lake just outside my home earlier this year with my grandson and granddaughters and all of a sudden I heard the wild shriek “I've got one”. They were doing the same thing that I did when I was young.

So the excitement generated from this activity to our youth and recognizing just how important it was to teach them, to show them how to do a live release, how to basically clean the fish if they wished to eat it, how to understand what it is to preserve and conserve for future generations so that perhaps down the road their children would have the same privilege was a wonderful closing of the loop to me.

It is not just a sport. It is a passion to many people. It is a source of pride for many Canadians. Certainly, it can be enjoyed, and is enjoyed, by people of any age, background or ability. It is an easy way, an affordable way, for families to spend some quality time together.

It is highly lucrative, from a point of income, whether for people in the industry or actually even from different levels of government, whether it is with taxation, whether it is for permits, because each year approximately 3.2 million Canadians participate in recreational fishing and they spend $7.5 billion per year practising this sport. It is not just a simple little recreational activity, but it actually is a huge generation of dollars and levers of activity in our economy that certainly contribute a great deal to our GDP as well.

There is the other element of that. As I mentioned, this bill pertains to both hunting and fishing. Canadians naturally enjoy the actual resources when hunting. I am very fortunate. I live in an area where hunting is, in some ways, more than a passion. There are some who say that when the annual deer hunt takes place in my area, it is a national holiday in Hastings county. Literally, there is hardly a male, and the ladies as well, who do not participate. It is not just what they call the thrill of the hunt. It is definitely a social activity. It is a get-together. It is a time to swap stories. It is a time to fraternize. It is a time to recognize that we have a wonderful outdoors and a great heritage that we can take advantage of, that we can utilize, and that we can enjoy.

I am very fortunate. Where I am, we have white-tailed deer, elk, and moose, which continue to be associated with Canada, particularly by a lot our international tourists or hunters who do not have any wildlife that is anywhere remotely accessible to them.

Across this country, we have such a diverse geography and such a great quantity and selection, per se, of fish. There are no less than 270 different varieties of fish. Who can resist a nice fresh bass fillet that has been caught, filleted and fried in a pan of butter over an open fire? Really that, to me, sort of typifies exactly what fishing is all about.

I see my colleague across the floor. I know he is from the Nipissing area, as well. My aunt and uncle had a camp on Lake Nipissing. I never saw anybody in my life fillet a pickerel like my aunt. I learned that as a youngster and now I am teaching my grandson and my granddaughter. And I see the number of activities that take place from this, the number of tourists we are able to gather.

My other colleague is from northern Canada where, quite obviously, it is more than just a recreation. Northerners have an asset there that is a treasure. It is something that really is right back from the hunting, fishing and trapping days during the establishment of our country, with all of our explorers taking advantage of our natural resources. It has just played such a significant role in so many ways that it is really imperative that we do designate a special day, not just for the history, but for the reminder that this is not just our past but it is also our future and we must protect and conserve it.

Canada does enjoy an international reputation, as we all know, as a fishing and hunting mecca. Anglers in Canada spend, as I mentioned, almost $7 billion a year. It certainly is more than an important contributor to the northern area because it also provides many people with the opportunity to explore and see a part of their heritage that many of them did not even know existed.

Most important, as we are going through some different evolving periods, the United Nations has named 2010 the year of biodiversity, a celebration--

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

Order, please. I am afraid the hon. member's time is up. Resuming debate, the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of Bill C-465 brought forward by the member for Northumberland—Quinte West with whom I share some time with on the justice committee and have come to know.

I know his area is one in which hunting, trapping and fishing are not only pastimes but for some more or less a full-time occupation, job, or vocation. In this great country of ours, we have to realize that there are people who do not wear suits and do not sit in Parliament, but who are out in the woods and the streams, and the oceans for that matter harvesting and being in the outdoors making a living, not only in the actions of hunting, fishing and trapping but in supporting others who hunt, fish and trap.

In my own province of New Brunswick and in my own region of Atlantic Canada the issue of guiding and outfitting is one that is to the fore often in public discourse. I guess I am one of the few speaking from Atlantic Canada and I want to bring that representation here. I know my friend from Yukon has brought his perspective from the north which is very valuable.

I might as a footnote add that the bill needs two amendments. One is the second “whereas” in the preamble, which states:

Whereas Canada’s hunters, trappers and fishers have made a significant contribution to the development of our nation by traversing and mapping the prairies, forests, streams and rivers from coast to coast;

The member for Yukon made it very clear that the unopposed addition of a third coast, “from coast to coast to coast” is appropriate. As my colleague, the member for Yukon, brought forward in his remarks there is a great deal of activity and importance to the north, evidenced by fishing, trapping and hunting. Therefore, with that friendly amendment the bill can go forward.

There is another amendment that I will get to in a few moments.

We have to realize that in the North American context we are not the first in advocating such a day. The United States has national organizations that promote hunting and fishing heritages. Many states have enacted laws protecting hunting and fishing opportunities, and several provinces and territories have taken that initiative as well.

Members of Parliament should also know that in support of the bill the various wildlife federations and fish and game associations have welcomed the passing of an act respecting a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day.

The bill is well-intentioned and is something that should receive support from all members of the House. Why? It is because we can all tell a story, as the previous speaker did, about history and person recollections.

Mine is a unique one in that I went to grade school, junior high school and high school with Bill Taylor who is a great Canadian. When we were all sitting around asking what are we going to do for a living, I suppose I might have said I was going to be a lawyer and a politician. Hopefully I did not at that age. However he said, “I'm going to be involved in the preservation of the Atlantic salmon”. We asked if he was going to buy a camp and take outfitters out. That was our vision back then. He said, “No. I'm going to work in the preservation of the Atlantic salmon”.

As teenagers, we had a chuckle. Now Bill Taylor, my friend, my age, under 50 barely, is the president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. He is the president of a multi-country, international organization that is aimed at the preservation and promotion of the Atlantic salmon species. That means he is very involved in the preservation of fish and of the species, but he is also very involved in the preservation of the people who earn a living in the preservation of the species.

For instance, he is hand in glove with preservation people, with scientists, with researchers, with people who take the sport to the outfitting lodges, and youth groups who become more appreciative of our lakes and streams, and the greatness and the grandeur of the Atlantic salmon species.

I was very proud to be with Bill Taylor when the premier of our province made a number of catch-and-release camps on various rivers throughout the province. This means of course that the ultimate aim of preservation is not to take more than what is needed and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, for instance, has made it clear that it perceives its role in preservation to promote the sport of fishing, but also as a hyperactivity to that, to promote the preservation of the species. For that, it is to be commended.

The other aspects of hunting, fishing and trapping life in the Atlantic provinces, my personal mea culpa is that I have been a fisher and hunter since I was legally able to do so. My father was an avid outdoorsman. I have gone duck and partridge hunting and all kinds of hunting. I have been trout fishing, deep sea fishing and mackerel fishing. As I mentioned before I am young, under age 50, but I remember those being normal, accepted, everyday activities of youth my age in a semi-urban setting which is Moncton, New Brunswick.

However, I see that slipping and it is a bit like the television ad where the family is googling and blackberrying each other and decide they should go out camping so they can get away from these things, and I say this to a House full of people on their computers. But the point is, we are losing touch with our natural resource which, simply put, is the outdoors. Anything that encourages people to get outdoors and see the grandeur of our country, the most beautiful country in the world, should be congratulated.

For that I congratulate the member. I also want to congratulate my colleague from Yukon who in a similar vein had promulgated a private member's bill currently listed as Bill C-277. That bill calls for the establishment of a national fish and wildlife heritage commission to re-establish the survey on the importance of nature to Canadians to help protect Canada's natural resources, and promote activities related to fish and wildlife including hunting, fishing and trapping.

I say for the next generation that we have to do a public education program on the respect that we have for nature and the knowledge that young people have to engage in about their natural surroundings because it is frankly missing.

One housekeeping matter as the bill would move forward to committee is the aspect of our aboriginal population. It would be harmless, more comprehensive, and meaningful if a friendly amendment at committee, or otherwise, were inserted to ensure that our aboriginal heritage in this great country would be respected. That wording could be as follows: “Whereas aboriginal peoples have exercised and been sustained by traditional hunting, trapping and fishing activities for food, ceremonial and commercial purposes since time immemorial” and added to the other whereases “which are wholly acceptable, positive, factually correct and inclusive”. That would make the bill very complete.

I hope the mover is open to such an amendment when it does pass through the committee. With that, the package in Bill C-465 is non-controversial. It is very positive and may be used as a tool for MPs across the country, public leaders across the country, municipal leaders, schools, et cetera, to use the opportunity of the proclaimed day to promote practices that would lead future generations to appreciate the value of recreational hunting, fishing and trapping.

A sad note perhaps in closing, I mentioned that my father introduced me to the culture of duck hunting in Grand Lake, New Brunswick, where we would get up at an ungodly hour of three or four in the morning and go down to the Coys Gut Landing out on the waters into the blinds with his best friend from nearby Douglas Harbour. We would wait for the sun to rise and for 35 years we were able to do that. It was a great experience. Sadly, he has passed away. We went back one year and it was very difficult to continue going back because it was not about the outing and the hunting, which were great experiences, it was about the camaraderie and the father to son, generation to generation passing down of experiences and culture, and what I think the essential nature of what our country is about.

It is not hunting for everybody. It is not fishing for everybody. However, if there is one thing everyone in the House and everyone in this country has to appreciate, by virtue of being Canadian, it is our nature, our natural surroundings, our outdoors, and our love of the grand space that is Canada from coast to coast to coast.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I address this bill today. It is a matter that speaks to the heart and soul of my constituency. Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing is a place where many people participate in or even make their living from hunting, trapping, and fishing.

This bill speaks to what many consider to be the heritage of this country. It is a heritage informed by values that spring from a belief that our common spaces are important and should be protected and a belief that these outdoor pursuits are a tie to our past and a bridge to our future. These are values our communities come together over. Fuelled by the spirit of volunteerism, these values take shape in the form of action at the local level time and time again.

Whether it is an angling club cleaning up a trout creek, lodge owners rehabilitating walleye spawning beds, or hunting clubs helping to restore native species, such as wild turkeys in Ontario, these are examples of values in motion. They speak to what is important to Canadians.

If I can get a couple of shameless plugs in, I will give a few local examples, as well. This coming Saturday morning, the Elliot Lake Rod and Gun Club will hold its free fishing tournament for children and challenged persons. It is an event that helps spread the joy fishing can bring and it attracts new people to the sport.

Also this weekend, the people in Dubreuilville are hosting that community's annual Father's Day walleye tournament. They have a tagged fish worth $10,000. It promises to be a great event. If you are good with a jig or have a great worm harness technique, you might want to get up to Dubreuilville this weekend.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that we have amazing fishing throughout Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, from Manitouwadge to White River, from Hearst to Smooth Rock Falls, from Wawa to Nairn Centre, and let us not forget, on beautiful Manitoulin Island.

I firmly believe that this is a very Canadian phenomenon that affects all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Hunting and fishing are in many ways an integral part of our identity.

From the riches of the Grand Banks fishery to the legendary voyages of the coureurs de bois, Canada's infancy was defined by these elements.

The first people who sailed to what became Canada learned from the first nations how to feed themselves from the bounty of the land. First nations continue, to this day, to rely upon the tradition of hunting and fishing to put food on the table. They are not alone in that regard, but their situation is unique.

Sadly, we have seen in the past how these natural food sources can become tainted. When we consider what hunting and fishing mean to Canada, we also have to consider what we have done to degrade these resources.

Think about the plight of the people of the Grassy Narrows First Nation. Those people have the right to feed themselves in a traditional manner, but pulp and paper waste dumped into the English-Wabigoon River system tainted the fish they rely on. As a result, many people in Grassy Narrows developed Minamata disease from exposure to mercury that was in the walleye, pike and whitefish they ate. If it were not for a Japanese scientist, the people of Grassy Narrows might still be making themselves sick on this traditional food source.

It is a sad example of the way we have not always cherished our rich, natural bounty in Canada.

Unfortunately, this instance does not stand alone. We have witnessed the decimation of the Grand Banks fishery. We have seen our once mighty Pacific salmon runs decline to a trickle. We have watched as our Arctic fauna struggle to survive in an ever-warming environment, and we have fought to keep invasive species from replacing native species at an alarming rate.

I wish I could stand here and speak only to the warm, fuzzy aspects of this subject. A large part of what we are discussing here are the ideas formed by a passion that is ignited when a kid catches his or her first rock bass from a dock or tags along on his or her first partridge hunt. That is what we want to celebrate. However, we would be doing a disservice to those ideas if we ignored the many ways in which we do not promote the well-being of the natural spaces these experiences are tied to.

When we see budgets bloated with legislative changes to regulatory documents that protect our environment, we have to ask ourselves if our commitment to this heritage is genuine. We have seen changes in what triggers a federal environmental assessment and changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act tucked into an omnibus budget, where they were somewhat hidden. We can only speculate as to what larger debate would occur if these were debated as stand-alone items. In general, these changes made it easier for development to go ahead for things like bridges.

I understand that we need bridges, but we should be mindful of where we build them, especially if that turns out to be a shallow riffle where fish spawn. We need to remember that there are more concerns in play than the flow of traffic and the bottom line. When we weaken our environmental assessment process, we are not remembering that. When we sneak changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act into a budget, we are acting in an underhanded way that seeks to avoid the scrutiny of those same people whose passion we celebrate in this motion.

This motion mentions the economy that is tied to hunting, trapping, and fishing. I would put it to you that this economy is huge, not only in terms of overall revenue generated but in terms of what it means to the people living in areas that rely on this economy. Certainly there are elements of this economy in our larger cities, but it is the smallest, most remote parts of Canada where this economy is most critical.

Tourists come for fishing, but when they are there, many go to events in these communities, such as powwows or festivals, such as the North of 49 Music Festival in Hornepayne that is taking place from July 1 to July 4. It runs both ways, too. One is just as likely to see music fans from those kinds of festivals buy a dozen worms and a bit of tackle from the local store and test their luck on the fish at the campground or lodge they are staying at.

As the bill states, millions of Canadians participate in and enjoy these activities. More often than not, when they do so, it will be in rural Canada and not in the bigger cities.

I can go out and walk along the Ottawa River and see a great many people fishing, but when people usually think about fishing, they think about a more natural and remote environment. In Canada, it could be a pristine lake with just oneself and the loons. That is the experience most people would want to have.

A great many people make their living by providing these experiences. There are countless lodges, campgrounds, outfitters, guides and stores connected to hunting and fishing all across Canada. When I drive throughout my constituency, I am reminded time and again just how many people's livelihoods rely on this connection to the land. These people are true entrepreneurs, and anything we can do to help them is well deserved.

In closing, I would like to say that the national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day is a great idea, but let us honour the spirit of that legacy and stop ramming through legislation that threatens this heritage. Let us stop creating omnibus budgets and let us debate changes to important legislation, such as the Navigable Waters Protection Act, as stand-alone items. Let us go out of our way to protect our environment instead of weakening federal environmental assessment legislation in Trojan horse budgets.

Let us do all we can instead of the bare minimum. Let us be a little extra cautious and avoid the next Grassy Narrows type of catastrophe. In that way, we will truly be standing up for Canada's heritage. We will be honouring our rich tradition that is embodied in the pursuits of angling, hunting and trapping.

I want to thank the Speaker for her time and patience in hearing all of our speeches. I think this is a really great, important heritage day to be speaking about. I can say, from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of the hearts of my constituents, that we appreciate the fact that we are able to enjoy the outdoors the way we can.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to address Bill C-465, which seeks the designation of the 23rd day of September of every year as an official national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day. This national day would commemorate hunting, trapping and fishing as part of Canada's heritage and as present day recreational pursuits.

My riding of Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound has some of the best hunting and fishing areas in Canada, and the people there love to hunt and fish. Every year we celebrate a number of fishing derbies, such as the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular, which is a fishing derby that brings out thousands of local residents and tourists to the community of Owen Sound and area. As many as 5,500 anglers have entered this event in any given year. I myself take part in as many hunting and fishing trips as I can, although not as many as I would like, throughout the year with friends and family locally and on Manitoulin Island.

I very much look forward to the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing fulfilling the promise she made to her constituents a year and a half ago that she would stand up and support getting rid of the gun registry, which Bill C-391 would do. I sincerely look forward to that. I know her constituents are waiting with bated breath to make sure she does that.

Hunting, trapping and fishing are traditions that are alive and well throughout Canada. They are not just part of our past, but part of the current heritage of Canadians from coast to coast to coast who enjoy these pastimes for the sport, for the camaraderie and for food, whether it be fresh fish, venison, wild turkey, moose meat and many others. I want to emphasize this point. As we all know, if one who can hunt and fish, one will never starve in this great country of ours that is rich with fish and game resources.

My riding has many sportsmen's, fishing and hunting clubs in every municipality that keep these traditions not only alive but strong. They do great work to maintain community spirit, educating the young on the importance of hunting, fishing and especially conservation, as well as charitable work. The Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen's Association, of which I have been a member for 35 years or more, operates a fish hatchery that raises and plants thousands of fish into our local lakes and streams.

I echo the Speech from the Throne in stating that our values as Canadians are rooted in our history. Hunting, trapping and fishing have been an integral part of the life of all Canadians and our first settlers. These activities defined where people settled and determined transportation routes. These activities formed the very backbone of our financial structures. Hunting, trapping and fishing helped to set the tone for our economic and social development. Whether it be the Hudson's Bay Company and the fur traders, or later, farmers settling across the landscape, hunting and fishing have been integral to the nation.

North American aboriginal people still use hunting, trapping and fishing as a means to provide food, clothing and tools for their families. Settlers and Canadians have hunted and fished to help feed their families when times were tough or crops were poor. Hunting, trapping and fishing allowed for the establishment of a partnership between different aboriginal peoples and the European settlers. From a historical perspective, fur trading played a key role in the creation and exploration of North America and formed the basis of Canada's early economy, an economy that today is one of the world's most stable.

Through hunting, trapping and fishing, Canadian communities were forged. Citizens were brought together; together in trading, together in communities and together in celebrations. Hunting, trapping and fishing are defined by the landscape of Canada and these pursuits ultimately resulted in the mapping of mountains, prairies, forests, streams and rivers across Canada.

Hunting requires the hunter to be resourceful, patient and observant, skills that are valuable in all facets of life.

Designation of a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day would provide an opportunity to highlight how fishing and hunting provide sustenance and are intricately tied to cultural traditions of Canadians.

Hunting, trapping and fishing are predominantly recreational activities today, enjoyed by Canadians and international tourists alike. These activities make significant contributions to Canada's economy. For example, in 2008, hunting, trapping and fishing contributed $1.2 billion to Canada's gross domestic product. Canada's fur trade, which includes fur farming as well as trapping, contributes more than $800 million to the national economy each year. This industry is a huge part of the economy in Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, where tourists flock in all seasons of the year for fishing and hunting opportunities.

These industries support and strengthen Canada's economy and sustain jobs. From campsites to outfitters, from travel guides to restaurants, the hunting, trapping and fishing industry attracts visitors to Canada and provides many Canadians with opportunities to explore Canada's natural environment. Canada's economy has benefited from this billion dollar industry.

Funds from the sale of hunting tags, licences and stamps are used to help protect wildlife and natural habitat. This is done through conservation projects undertaken by organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada, a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the conservation, restoration and management of wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. Through its western boreal forest initiative, Ducks Unlimited Canada is working to find a sustainable balance between development and protection of the wetlands.

The need for conservation of Canada's natural resources was first recognized by hunters—

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Talk about the fake lake.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Crombie Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Artificial lake, fake mosquitoes, too.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, I remind the other members in the House that they will get their turn to speak.

The need for conservation of Canada's natural resources was first recognized by hunters, trappers and anglers as they realized that the development and unregulated use of natural resources posed a threat to the future of many species. As such, hunters, trappers and anglers have been active supporters of laws and regulations governing the sustainable use of our natural resources.

Canadians actively participate in hunting, trapping and fishing. Each year, approximately 3.2 million Canadians participate in recreational fishing and spend $7.5 billion on the sport. Nationally, about one in every 10 Canadian adults is an active angler.

Recreational fishing is a legitimate social and economic use of fisher resources and is integrated into the management plans that conserve fish stocks. Managing and sustaining recreational fisheries allows Canadians to enjoy Canada's natural resources. Many hunters, trappers and fishers of today aim at living in harmony with nature to develop a strong sense of observation and to reconnect with nature and their roots. Myself, I hunt and fish as a sanity time to charge my batteries and clear my mind from the stresses of work and politics.

When practised in a responsible and respectful way, hunting, trapping and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations. In fact, in most instances, these activities are necessary for sound wildlife management. For example, the deer population will often grow too large in number for a habitat to support. If some deer are not harvested, they destroy their habitat and that of other animals and often die from starvation or disease.

The harvesting of wildlife is carefully regulated to ensure a balance between population levels and wildlife habitat. Hunting also plays a role in public safety by managing bears, coyotes and cougars in urban and suburban areas and the protection of private property for agricultural crop production.

The United States of America has celebrated a national hunting, trapping and fishing day since 1972, when it was passed by Congress and proclaimed into law by the President of the United States. In Canada, similar legislation exists in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, recognizing the contributions that these activities make to the cultural, social and economic heritage. In 2009, Manitoba also had its first hunting appreciation day.

The designation of a national hunting, trapping and fishing heritage day would serve as a link between our ancestors and future generations. It would serve as an opportunity to raise awareness about the history of our great country and the role that hunting, trapping and fishing have played in the exploration and settlement of Canada. This day would provide an opportunity to celebrate the long-standing practices of hunting, trapping and fishing in Canada. It would also provide an opportunity and encourage Canadians to travel and explore their country and discover the heritage of their ancestors.

I can think of no better way to recognize the culture of a riding like Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound and its people, along with a nation like Canada, with a rich history of hunting and fishing, than making September 23 a national heritage day. I reiterate my support of the designation of that day as a federal commemoration of an important aspect of national history and heritage.

National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day Act
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank all of the members who rose today and those who rose in the first hour of debate in support of this bill.

This evening we heard some personal anecdotes of a family nature from the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe. I share those anecdotes. He talked about hunting with his father. He talked about a man who was important to him and his family, a man who was important to all Canadians and to anyone who enjoys fishing. I am referring of course to Mr. Taylor, who is advocating for Atlantic salmon. I too have advocated for the reintroduction of Atlantic salmon into Lake Ontario. A Coburn Creek settler said that at one time, one could walk across the creek on the backs of the salmon when they were spawning. They were Atlantic salmon, which were replaced with Pacific salmon.

We heard from a member from northern Ontario just a few minutes ago with regard to some of her perceptions about the changes to the environmental protection act and certain other things. I do not necessarily agree with her but I will take her kick in the pants along with her support for this bill. She needs to know that I was born in her riding and for a short time was raised in the White River area of her riding. My recently deceased uncle trapped in the White River area. That hunting, trapping and fishing heritage is of a very personal nature to me.

I spent many years hunting and fishing with my late father just up the Ottawa Valley in Renfrew. The member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe mentioned his association with the great outdoors and the great times he had with his father. It means a lot to me. If I talk much more about it my voice will break as his did.

This means a lot to every Canadian. Whether they are new Canadians or not, people need to know that this heritage of ours began when our first nations crossed the Bering Strait into Canada. They had an abundant availability of fish and wildlife. Fur provided a means of clothing themselves. If it were not for them, we would not be the country that we are today.

This bill just does one thing: it recognizes in a significant way that hunting, fishing and trapping are more than just sports. They are more than just a way to earn a living. These activities actually go to the very core of what it means to be a Canadian in the true sense. It means that we incorporate God's great gifts of fish, wildlife, this great environment of ours, how we enjoy it and how we incorporate it not only into our lives but into the very culture of our country, the very culture of our families. These things bring families together.

The member for Prince Edward—Hastings talked about his first experiences with fishing and his experiences now with his grandchildren. I too have experienced the great outdoors with my grandchildren, who happen to live in northern Ontario and in western Canada. After I leave this place I hope that I will be able to continue to enjoy the great outdoors with my grandchildren, as my father did with me, and his father did with him. Every member who has risen to speak on this subject has related the same familial story, that hunting, fishing and trapping is a culture in this country, whether one is an aboriginal, a new Canadian or an older Canadian.

I want to thank those members who have risen in support of this bill. I look forward to working with them to make it an even better bill as time goes on.