House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, February 27, 2013, immediately before the time provided for private members’ business.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

February 13th, 2013 / 7:10 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on an issue that has become urgent to people of northwestern Ontario and all Canadians. It is one that will have a real impact on the health of our fresh waters and our fish stocks but also on the health of citizens, not just in Canada but around the world.

The current government does not believe in science. It does not want science, especially any science that refutes its ideology or its agenda. The closure of the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area near Kenora, in northwestern Ontario, has been surrounded by secrecy. Questions to the government have only resulted in empty answers devoid of any information. Time is running out. The announced closure of the ELA is only weeks away, with nobody lined up to take it over and continue its important work.

Canadians deserve more than empty talking points. The people of northwestern Ontario deserve more, and specifically the people of the riding of Kenora deserve more. The way the Conservatives have mishandled the ELA is also exhibit A in a larger problem: excessive party control and MPs who represent Conservative interests to their constituents rather than fighting for their constituents' interests in Ottawa. So far, the member of Parliament for Kenora has decided not to stand up for the ELA, despite the fact that a vast majority of his constituents clearly oppose the government's closing of this unique facility in their riding.

Kenora residents are not alone. Opinion polls show that three-quarters of all Canadians oppose the cancellation of funding for the ELA, including 60% of Conservative voters. The member for Kenora has also refused to address the fact that towns and cities across northern Ontario have passed resolutions calling on the government to reverse its decision on the ELA. This includes cities like Thunder Bay, Rainy River, Atikokan, Chapelle, Dorion, Terrace Bay, Sioux Narrows—Nestor Falls, Neebing, Red Rock, Gillies, Hornpayne and more. It also includes major communities in the Kenora riding like Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Lake of the Woods, Ignace and Kenora itself. First nations are against closing the ELA.

There is an overwhelming call for the government to reverse its decision on the ELA. The countless petitions tabled in this House by members from all parties and from across the country, most especially from the people from Kenora, clearly show that. Yet we have never heard the member of Parliament for Kenora rise to present a single ELA petition on behalf of his constituents in this House. It has been left to opposition MPs to present them on behalf of the people in his riding. In fact, the member of Parliament for Kenora has never even uttered the words “Experimental Lakes Area” in this House. Why is this member not fighting for his constituents? Whose interests is the member representing?

The member for Kenora was invited by his own constituents to a public meeting on ELA last year, but he did not show up. I know, because I did, and so did over 100 of his constituents.

Mr. Speaker, it is not too late. On February 18, in Kenora, there will be another public meeting on the ELA at Knox United Church. The hon. member for Kenora has been invited. Will he attend?

On February 4, the member for Kenora was forwarded a petition, signed by over 500 residents of his riding, on ELA. Will he present it? When will this member speak up for his constituents?

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission
B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to one more time respond about the Experimental Lakes Area.

To summarize, the Government of Canada has made its decision: Fisheries and Oceans Canada will no longer operate the facility. The department recognizes the ecosystem experiments conducted at the Experimental Lakes Area have helped to enhance scientific knowledge of freshwater ecosystems. However, the department is now focusing its scientific work on what is being conducted at other locations across the country to meet its research needs.

The department hopes to transfer the Experimental Lakes Area to another operator that is better suited to managing it and ensuring it is available to scientists in universities or elsewhere who require whole lake manipulations. The department no longer needs to do this type of research.

The research that is conducted at the facility is of interest to many other science-based organizations. This is why departmental officials at Fisheries and Oceans Canada have held a number of discussions with a variety of interested parties. These discussions have resulted in the identification of potential operators. The department remains hopeful that a successful conclusion to those discussions will be reached as quickly as possible.

While Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working to transfer the facility to another operator, the department is continuing to invest in freshwater research in other locations in response to departmental needs. The department maintains an active freshwater fish habitat science program. This research examines fisheries productivity in response to the effects of human activities, including hydroelectric projects and industrial water extraction. In addition, work is conducted to develop tools to assist managers and stakeholders in protecting fisheries.

This past summer, the department invested research funding for a science project to predict and forecast the effects of multiple stressors on fisheries in the Great Lakes. The department also funded research investigating the drivers of fish productivity in fresh water. These projects support commercial, aboriginal and recreational fisheries, and the resulting data will help inform departmental decisions about the aquatic environment and fisheries resources.

In addition to these fish habitat projects, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has invested in science to better understand the risk of aquatic invasive species, a major threat to biodiversity. This supports effective measures to prevent new invasions and mitigate the impact of aquatic invasive species in our freshwater ecosystems. The department is working with the Province of New Brunswick to evaluate efforts to eradicate invasive smallmouth bass from Miramichi Lake, as one example.

In partnership with the United States, the department is managing sea lamprey, through the sea lamprey control program in the Great Lakes.We are also working with the United States to address potential aquatic invasive species. In July 2012, the binational risk assessment for Asian carp in the Great Lakes was publicly released, to help guide Canadian and American prevention, monitoring and control activities. The department is continuing to conduct research on other species of Asian carp.

The department conducts freshwater science activities in various locations across the country, including the Great Lakes, the Fraser River, lakes and streams in the Northwest Territories, Lake Winnipeg and the St. Lawrence River. The department also collaborates with a variety of science partners, including other government departments, provincial governments, universities, industry and non-government organizations. These successful collaborations result in scientific information that the department can use to develop policies and make decisions to support conservation and long-term sustainability.

In conclusion, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to invest in and maintain our active freshwater science program.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Independent

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are no closer to any answers with that woefully inadequate response.

Let me tell the member what we do know. We know that the DFO has started procedures for decommissioning the ELA, at great cost. We know that no other organization has the resources to pay $50 million to decommission the ELA. We know that the transfer of the ELA to anyone else will require transition funding.

Time is running out. It is mid-February and the facility is scheduled to close on March 31 if no arrangements can be made to keep it open.

I have two simple questions. Will the government extend the March 31 deadline, as is clearly needed? If not, will the government at least commit to bridge financing to keep the ELA open for three to five years until a good partner can take over in an orderly fashion?

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, my colleague has his facts wrong. I do not know where he got his figures from, but they are definitely not accurate.

As I said at the outset, the government has made the decision that it will no longer be operating this facility in the future. While the department is winding down its whole lake ecosystem experiments, it is continuing to invest in freshwater science in other locations across the country.

As I described earlier, the department has an active freshwater research program in many priority areas and departmental scientists are conducting research on freshwater fish habitat and aquatic invasive species.

DFO is focusing its use of research-dedicated resources to priority areas and investing in science where it will do the most to achieve the best results for Canadians.

The Environment
Adjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:24 p.m.)