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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was water.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Davenport (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 66.72% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 May 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I have some brief remarks to conclude the debate. A number of very positive points have been made. I would like to indicate my profound appreciation and express my thanks to the member for Gander—Grand Falls. When we met in committee to hear the presentations by officials a couple of weeks ago, the member for Gander--Grand Falls was present. He was so enthused and impressed by the presentation as to the bill's potential, its desirability and urgency, that he asked the committee to recommend to the House leaders that the bill be dealt with at all stages in the House immediately without sending the bill to the committee for the usual clause by clause examination, the usual hearing of witnesses, et cetera.

It was that kind of enthusiasm that prompted us to move more speedily with the bill than otherwise would have been possible. Nevertheless, we were not as fast as we would have liked to have been. This raises the question that has been referred to by my colleagues who have spoken so far, namely the member for Windsor—St. Clair, and the member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques and the member for Red Deer, namely the role of the other place.

It is our hope that efforts will be made to convince the Senate Speaker to reconvene the Senate next week and not on May 25 as it has been announced already, so as to deal with the bill and pass it so it can be proclaimed. I am expressing the hope that very intensive efforts will be made to that end.

The fact that legislation is finally before us only now is certainly a matter of great concern. We were told in committee that the bill required the cooperation of five departments. We were also told that technology and factors related to evidence that is required by the courts made it difficult to come forward with this type of legislation before.

The bill as it stands now is a combination of two measures, which include the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It has a number of clauses in it that give the bill particular strengths and muscle. Therefore its implementation looks very promising. We accept the explanation given to us in committee that this could have not been done before.

Having said all that, I would like to thank all members of the committee for their cooperation in getting this measure before the House today. I express the hope that some sensitivity will be developed in the other house of Parliament, namely in the Senate, so that it can reconvene next week and give the bill the approval it requires and deserves.

Member for Hamilton East May 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, let me thank the member for Halifax for her thoughtful initiative today. I want to add my words of thanks to the member for Hamilton East for the fine contribution she has made to Parliament and to the development of good laws for Canada and the global community.

In her role as minister of the environment, I cannot think of a more exciting period in the last 10 years on the Hill because of the measures that she introduced at that time, particularly the one that dealt with the removal of manganese from gasoline.

She then went on to become the minister of Canadian Heritage. I would like to thank her for the tremendous work that she did in strengthening Canadian identity, in strengthening cultural policies and for the respect that she had for all of us at UNESCO in Paris by putting Canada on the map on culture.

I join my colleagues in this tribute to pay homage to her and I want to say how glad I am that in her remarks today she said “au revoir” and not “adieu”.

The Environment May 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. It has to do with the ineffectiveness of the justice department in enforcing legislation aimed at protecting migratory birds.

Despite clear evidence of a 116 kilometre-long oil slick found near the Teacam Sea ship, could the Minister of Justice explain why the department did not prosecute, given that the ship's engineer was not able to account for 15,000 litres of used oil captured by satellite imagery and Coast Guard surveillance?

The Environment May 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, a century of ongoing clearcut logging in British Columbia's old growth forests has driven the spotted owl to the verge of extinction. About 33 adult pairs are left.

An effective scientific recovery strategy has been prepared to reach the goal of 125 adult pairs; however, this effort has only received 3% of the funds requested from the British Columbia government.

Researcher Andrew Miller of the British Columbia spotted owl recovery team recommends a temporary logging moratorium in certain areas to protect the habitat for owls, and the provision of funds needed to help the remaining owls.

To prevent extinction of the spotted owl, the federal government can enforce the emergency clause of the Species at Risk Act, as it was originally intended to do in the first place. I urge the Minister of the Environment to take federal action.

The Environment May 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, researchers at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom report an accumulation of plastic fibre pollution, from seabeds to beaches. Marine organisms are swallowing microscopic fragments of plastic from pop bottles, grocery bags, rope, fragments of nylon, and polyester. It takes between 100 and 1,000 years for plastic to disintegrate.

Researcher Dr. Thompson says that the evidence suggests we are dealing with a problem quite widespread in the oceans and expresses concern that there may be the possibility of food chain contamination.

Plastics contain various additives, such as hormone interfering compounds and are also known to aid in collecting, transporting and releasing of additional toxins into the ocean.

For the sake of future generations we should actively and firmly prevent plastic pollution.

Interparliamentary Delegations May 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present in both official languages, under Standing Order 34(1), the report of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association delegation to the Interparliamentary Forum on Transatlantic Dialogues at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held in London, in the United Kingdom, on April 18 and 19, 2004.

Hybrid Fuelled Vehicles May 12th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago in Edmonton a new diesel electric hybrid bus was tested to reduce fuel consumption and pollution. It is a hybrid engine driven bus which combines electric and diesel power with fuel savings of 35% compared to a traditional diesel powered bus. Emissions reduction includes a 50% drop in smog-creating nitrogen oxides and a 90% cut in particulates and carbon dioxide.

Hybrid buses require less brake maintenance, store energy in their batteries, are quiet, and accelerate faster than conventional diesel buses. With the rising cost of fuel, hybrid buses can help reduce pollution, improve air quality and cut the incidence of respiratory diseases.

Governments at all levels would be well advised to adopt hybrid fuelled vehicles.

Committees of the House May 11th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the order of reference of Friday, May 7, 2004, your committee has considered Bill C-34, an act to amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, and agreed, on Monday, May 10, 2004, to report it without amendment.

I want to thank the hon. members who supported this bill and helped facilitate the completion of the work.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act May 10th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for his very comprehensive reply. I must confess that I do not envy his role in trying to defend the indefensible because in his presentation he fell into the same trap as the minister did, namely by saying that the cod needs strong conservation measures but at the same time we allow the catching of some 6,500 tonnes of the same species which is endangered. At the same time, while the species is endangered, a consultation process is launched.

All these decisions seem to conflict with each other, to move in opposite directions. All I can say in conclusion is that this is a form of unsustainable development which requires attention and reconsideration.

The scientists make recommendations based on facts and data and not on political consideration. When it comes to endangered species we should listen more to the scientists than to pressures by interested groups.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act May 10th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, on May 3, I asked the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans why he requested a nine month suspension of the scientific panel's recommendation to protect 12 marine species, including 4 Atlantic cod populations? In doing so, the minister delayed the necessary and urgent action to protect these endangered species.

The minister's reply was contradictory. He listed conservation and the sustainable use of all marine resources as his first priority, but then went on to suggest that if these species were protected such action would have a significant impact on coastal communities. He also recommended a nine month consultation process on species, the very same scientists had declared endangered, threatened or of special concern. To make things worse, the minister allowed for 6,500 tonnes of Atlantic cod to be commercialized.

Given the strong message by the scientific community recommending an endangered species status, the consequences of the nine month delay plus the permission to catch some 6,500 tonnes of Atlantic cod will jeopardize the species identified as endangered, threatened or of special concern.

Let me bring to the attention of the House what scientists are saying. First, of the 12 aquatic species placed on the extended list in process, 9 have been given the designation of threatened or endangered, with the remaining 3 species being of special concern. Atlantic cod from Newfoundland and Labrador have been given endangered status because their population has gone down 97% since the early 1970s and 99% since the early 1960s. Scientists point to the fact that there has been virtually no recovery in their numbers. Scientists also point to fishing and fishing induced changes as two main threats to the cod population.

Second, statistics confirm Atlantic cod in the northern gulf of the St. Lawrence is also at a population low. It has declined by 80% over the last 30 years and has threatened status because of overfishing. Atlantic cod in the Maritimes is also in decline, also because of overfishing.

Third, the announcement by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to lift the moratorium on cod and reopen fisheries is evidence that commercial interests are given precedence over the Species at Risk Act that gives the government powers to protect all species, including cod, which become and when they become endangered.

Scientists say fishing is the primary factor responsible for the Atlantic cod becoming endangered. Why then reopen the cod fishery, thus flying in the face of well researched recommendations by scientists?

Therefore, tonight I urge the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reconsider the decision to suspend the scientific recommendations and instead allow the recommended inclusion of the 12 marine species, under the Species at Risk Act, to become law.