An Act to amend the Copyright Act

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.


Sheila Copps  Liberal


Not active, as of June 18, 2002
(This bill did not become law.)


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

May 15th, 2001 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central, I am pleased to participate in the second reading debate on Bill C-10, the Liberal government's attempt to create national marine conservation areas.

The objective of establishing marine conservation areas is to protect and conserve marine ecosystems found in the ocean environments of Canada and in the Great Lakes. The purpose of the bill is to establish rules that would allow the creation of national marine conservation areas.

The bill is actually unfinished business from the last Mulroney government. It took the weak Liberal government more than 13 years to tinker with the idea of creating marine conservation areas. It is still at step one after feeble attempts to introduce legislation in previous parliaments, namely Bill C-48 and Bill C-8. It shows the lack of commitment of the Liberals to protecting and conserving our environment.

In addition to preserving marine areas for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians, the bill strives to establish a framework for regulating marine ecosystems and maintaining biological diversity. It is important to note that while environmental protection and sustainable development are important issues, they do not fall within the administrative responsibility of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The bill makes provision for two schedules that are intended to include the names of marine conservations areas and reserves. The minister has identified 29 marine conservation areas and the intent to create new national parks, but in Bill C-10 the two schedules are blank. The actual locations of all 29 parks have not been identified.

As a past co-chair of the scrutiny of regulations committee I would imagine these lists could be filled in by regulation and we would find the 29 locations somewhere in the thousands of pages of regulations that no doubt accompany the bill. That is governing through the back door, not through the front door and not through the voices of elected members in the Chamber. The bill should describe the location of each park and that information should be inserted in the two schedules. I hope the matter is fleshed out during the committee hearings.

Bill C-10 would limit parliamentary input by giving cabinet the authority to create a new marine conservation area on crown land without going through the normal legislative process. Currently the government is required to come before parliament any time a new national park is to be established or an existing park is to be changed. The legislation would remove the power from parliament and would allow parks to be created or changed by order in council. That is ridiculous.

The minister states that activities such as commercial fishing and shipping would be appropriate in conservation areas. However all fishing, aquaculture, fisheries management, marine navigation and marine safety plans are subject to the approval of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Similarly regulations affecting navigation or safety rules under the responsibility of the Minister of Transport must be made on the recommendation of both the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Transport.

Disposal regulations pertaining to sections 127 and 128 of the Environmental Protection Act require the joint approval of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of the Environment.

What is to be done about these contradictions and overlapping responsibilities? Clause 13 of the bill would limit or prohibit the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, minerals, aggregates or any other inorganic material in all marine conservation areas. I anticipate hearing from stakeholders about this clause at the committee hearings.

There are considerations with respect to private property and reasonable search and seizure. Clause 22 of the bill states that, in the discharge of their duties, marine conservation area wardens, enforcement officers and persons accompanying them may enter and pass through private property. This is an invasion of the property rights of law-abiding citizens.

The weak and arrogant Liberal government has shown its pattern of disrespect for privacy rights and interference with personal property. We have seen that in Bill C-5, the endangered species legislation, where the arrogant Liberal government refused to offer fair compensation to Canadians.

Enforcing regulations is a serious issue and it is not addressed in the bill. In reference to Parks Canada, the director of the organization suggested that the RCMP be allowed to be involved in enforcement activities. Currently Parks Canada is involved in a labour dispute with its park wardens over personal safety. The bill contains the same deficiencies as the National Parks Act. It does not give park wardens sufficient authority to enforce the law.

Since 1993 there have been three separate reports recommending that sidearms be issued to wardens in order to fulfil their responsibilities. With park wardens off the job and other law enforcement agencies overburdened with enforcing criminal code violations, wildlife is being slaughtered in our national parks. The bill does not address any of these situations.

The Canadian Alliance affirms the federal government's role in the preservation of Canada's natural and historical heritage such as national parks. It supports sustaining and developing national parks and marine conservation areas that exist for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone. It also supports sustainable development and environmental protection regulations that have been fully debated by parliamentarians, not through the back door but through this Chamber.

The bill would strengthen the power of cabinet while diminishing the effectiveness of elected representatives. The bill is virtually unnecessary because the regulatory framework already exists to accomplish what the bill purports to achieve. It is just a power grab by a department that understands that it has a weak minister who does not understand that the new regulations are not required.

The legislation would clearly limit the ability of parliamentarians to consider all options when new marine areas are introduced or existing areas are expanded, with no input whatsoever when new parks are being created. The weak and arrogant Liberal government, time and again, abuses the Chamber and uses elected members as a rubber stamp. It does not give enough opportunity for debate by elected officials. There is no reason for this tight fisted form of control and undemocratic manner of proceeding. Like the bogus changes the government is proposing to Bill C-9, the Elections Act, Bill C-10 is also virtually anti-democratic.

The scope of the bill, as it relates to fishing, aquaculture and transportation, is such that changes to any schedule should require an act of parliament. Affected communities would be at the whim of the minister. The bill would give the Minister of Canadian Heritage a free reign to create unlimited advisory committees for each marine conservation area.

Limitations on the size and structure of each committee should have been established in the legislation. Will the committee that hears the bill allow these limits and rules to be established? I doubt it very much.

These advisory committees would give the government an opportunity for patronage in the way membership is composed and would serve no other purpose than that of a rubber stamp under the guise of public consultation. What we have here is yet another job creation program for failed Liberal election candidates and their supporters.

If marine wildlife and ecosystems are to be protected, park wardens should have exclusive jurisdiction in the enforcement of laws and regulations relating to each conservation area. Unfortunately, wardens are increasingly finding that they cannot do a proper job due to interference from Ottawa.

The decision by Parks Canada management to transfer responsibilities from park wardens to law enforcement agencies like the RCMP is Ottawa's way of centralizing tight fisted control away from the frontline officers who have the practical experience to know what does and does not work in Canada's national parks. What a shame.

The bill is a mess. It is as much an assault on our environment as an assault on the stakeholders in the regions that will be affected by it. My heart goes out to my colleague the Canadian Alliance heritage critic because I cannot see how the bill can be fixed or amended during committee stage.

On the one hand, the bill is not required because everything it does can already be done under regulations. On the other hand, it is a power grab by the minister and should be stopped 100%. Those concerned about preserving the environment can see that after 13 years of trying to bring the bill forward for debate in the House the government does not care about the environment.

I hope the bill looks significantly different when it comes back before the House following committee hearings. However, knowing the government's record, I doubt it. I hope the minister's secret agenda of power grabbing is exposed. I hope Canadians see clearly how little the government cares about the environment.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

May 15th, 2001 / 11:45 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again on Bill C-10, which is going through another life cycle. At the beginning of the 36th parliament it was Bill C-48 and at the end of the 36th parliament it became Bill C-8.

I was pleased to be critic at the time for Canadian heritage and I spent some time on the bill. However it now rises again. These things seem to die on the order paper fairly regularly. The bill originated in 1988 when the Mulroney government introduced the National Parks Act that would permit the establishment of marine parks.

I will not go through all the details but I will hit a few high points about the intent of the legislation. I do not think anyone in the House or across the country would disagree that environmental protection and sustainability are paramount. Whether they pertain to national parks, marine areas or regulating the pollution of large companies, environmental protection and sustainable development are very important issues.

However these issues do not fall specifically within the jurisdictional power of the Minister of Canadian Heritage. We talk about ecosystems, fish, aquaculture and so on. It would be wise to place some of the responsibility for these issues with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We could then talk about the Department of the Environment and how important it is to look at environmental sustainability in the whole area of marine conservation parks.

I also sense frustration with the amount of input parliament would have. I am not sure if this place is becoming more and more irrelevant.

Bill C-10 would pare down anything parliament would have to say on the issue. It would limit parliamentary input by giving cabinet the authority to create marine conservation areas on crown land without going through the normal legislative process. The question is, why bother with this place at all? Cabinet might as well get together, have coffee, bring up an order in council and throw a dart and pick a marine conservation area.

A lot of people and advisory committees have done an incredible amount of work on this issue. I have seen the maps and the areas and they seem well thought out. However the whole idea of going to cabinet and just zipping something through in a morning session, or maybe not even that long, maybe even before coffee, is no good. The House of Commons is where such debate should take place.

We know in the years we have been here that the amount of discussion and the power of parliament itself has been pared down. Members have also witnessed incredible growth in government. Budgets have ballooned. The debt has certainly ballooned and hopefully we are starting to control that. The annual deficit is somewhat under control. That is probably a good start.

Let us look at the amount of governing that would occur under marine conservations areas. Once a marine conservation area is established the minister may maintain and operate the facilities, conduct scientific research and monitor and carry out studies based on traditional ecological knowledge of the areas.

That is a nice tidy sentence. We can all guess where it may lead. It could lead to mushrooming bureaucracies, advisory committees and all kinds of studies and scientific research. Such things are essential but if they are not monitored they could fly loose. The legislation could be an entity unto itself. When members see the mushroom cloud it places under the government, a cloud with no checks or balances that will only get bigger and bigger, they should be careful.

This whole area unnecessarily expands the minister's domain to areas that fall outside her ministerial responsibility. The minister talks about marine conservation areas, which is again a nice thought and something that perhaps needs to happen sooner or later to a degree, but it is by order in council and should be under DFO control as much as anything else.

What about the Minister of the Environment? The bill would require the heritage minister to establish a management plan for marine conservation, ecosystem protection, human use and zoning. Somewhere in there surely the Minister of the Environment and his department should be involved. We then start saying that it is this department or that department and the whole thing blows loose because it gets bigger and bigger rather than adopting tighter checks and balances.

In addition, each marine conservation area would require the establishment of a management advisory committee to review and implement management plans. For every marine park or conservation area there needs to be a whole advisory committee. I am not necessarily questioning the wisdom of that. A lot of people have a lot of expertise in the area and I do not. I certainly respect the ability of advisory committees to review and implement plans.

However where does it stop? That is the question. This thing will get bigger and bigger. There must be rules and regulations and the government needs to come forward with them. Unfortunately we see no checks and balances in this piece of legislation.

Ministers have all kinds of power, which we have certainly seen. I could digress and talk about Bill C-15, the enormous omnibus justice bill, but there is no point in getting into that right now. It is certainly before the House. It is an unbelievable piece of legislation and an example of phenomenal ministerial power. I hope it gets chunked down into bite size pieces so we can deal with each section on its own.

Regarding ministerial powers and perhaps overuse of powers, the minister states that commercial fishing and shipping would be appropriate in conservation areas. I would like an expert to tell us those things rather than the minister.

In the last bill we talked about whether the minister would be able to curtail or eliminate commercial flights over marine conservation areas. What would that do to small charter companies that fly over the ocean three-quarters of their lives on the B.C. straits?

The clauses would allow commercial fishing according to the minister's will. All aquaculture fisheries management, marine navigation and marine safety plans would then be subject to the approval of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Heritage. Do we not see the thing getting bigger and bigger? It looks like mushrooming to me.

The whole idea of putting regulations into place is essential. However, how do we enforce them? We have seen all kinds of legislation over the years where regulations were put in place and not enforced. How do we enforce regulations? That is the frustration we see with the National Parks Act.

My colleague talked about Kootenay Park, Banff, Jasper and Yoho. The parallel is that the National Parks Act does not give park wardens sufficient authority to enforce the law. Park wardens drive around in their brown trucks. We see them all the time. I live very close to Elk Island National Park. It is 45 minutes east of my home in Edmonton. Lew and I ride out there a lot. We see park wardens and we know they are people we ought to respect.

I am a law-abiding citizen. When I see the rangers' authority I do not try to pull anything on them. We have gone around and around the block in the House about sidearms for park rangers. If a person is up to no good or wants to poach moose, elk or bison, they know park wardens are fairly powerless. The government is very irresponsible in terms of the National Parks Act.

The parallel can then be drawn: What would the government do with the marine conservation act? The director of Parks Canada has suggested allowing the RCMP to get involved. That is good, but there are lots of parks where the RCMP is more than a 12 minute drive away. Park wardens should have all the power and authority vested in them by the government and the minister to protect both wildlife and public safety.

For marine conservation acts the record is not stellar. We must ask what would happen. Would people be chased around in boats? Is that what enforcing the regulations would come to?

Let us look at the history of the legislation. This is the third swing around. Who knows when it might get passed? Is the government really committed to the legislation? It has died on the order paper a couple of times, as I mentioned. Will we put regulations in place that the minister will live by, or is this a grandiose plan that will not be enforced?

Many think parliament is irrelevant. A proposed amendment structure in the legislation would allow 20 days for amendments and a three hour debate on them. Such amendments may affect shipping lanes, commercial fishing, sport fishing, aquaculture, commercial flights, and who knows what. Recreational boating may not be allowed in some areas. If an amendment is put forward there would be only three hours to debate it. That is almost an admission that parliament is irrelevant and does not matter. Decisions would be made around the cabinet table.

The legislation would severely limit the ability of parliamentarians to consider all options when new marine areas are set up. The bill would give the Minister of Canadian Heritage free rein to create unlimited advisory committees for each marine conservation area. We know where that could go when people are absolutely unchecked.

Limitations on the size and structure of each committee must be established in the legislation. We need to make sure the parameters are in place. If we get an unlimited number of people with unlimited amounts of salary, and it looks like a big pot out of which we can draw cash, we all know that it could go on for a very long time. It may need to be studied for a little longer and, because it is important, we may need to bring in 15 experts. The thing needs some parameters in place but unfortunately we are not seeing that at this time.

I will wrap up by drawing a parallel with the land national parks and some of the things going on there. The parks of Banff and Jasper are absolutely glorious. They have a lot of building projects going on. The minister took her first swing out to those parks last summer or the summer before and was able to see first hand how fabulous these parks are and how important it is that we balance economic and sustainable development with environmental protection.

We want to make sure there is a balance in nature. We may not be able to please both sides of the equation but if I want to go to a park or spend money on a hotel or in a restaurant, I want to be able to do that. If I have the money to go camping in Jasper Park, I want to be able to go there and enjoy the pristine wilderness, have a campfire outside my camper and enjoy the campground. I am not sure that anyone ought to be telling me that I cannot do that.

It would be the same if we were talking about a marine conservation area. It is important that I am able to make use of that area but at the same time I do not want heavyhanded regulations. I want wisdom, not advisory committees. This may sound foolish, coming around in boats, but there needs to be absolute common sense from the government. I do not think we see that to this extent with some of the things I have discussed. I hope the government takes into account, when it swings through the legislation again, that too many rules and regulations certainly are unwise. At the same time, this just cannot be an open can or basket for people to help themselves.

I am really nervous about the fact that the minister would have far too much power and that it would be essential for joint ministries to work together. If we look at heritage we see that we have a marvellous heritage. We can also look at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of the Environment. I certainly hope that no one is just trying to make a legacy for themselves. That would surely be unwise and people would be able to see right through that.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

May 14th, 2001 / 4:30 p.m.
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Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-10, which replaces the now defunct Bills C-48 and C-8 dealing with the creation of marine areas, more specifically 28 marine conservation areas.

The Bloc Quebecois is not against protecting the environment, but it is against Bill C-10 for several reasons I will list now.

First, we are opposed to the bill because the federal government is grabbing the power to create marine conservation areas without any regard for provincial jurisdictions. Why is the federal government not consulting the provinces on this, more specifically Quebec, as it did for example with regard to the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park? Why in the case of Bill C-10 on the establishment of marine conservation areas is it not consulting Quebec and working together with it?

There is another example, phase 3 of the St. Lawrence action plan. There were consultations. Why is it that when it comes to Bill C-10 there was no consultation, which would be desirable and would benefit the population? Although it is being said that the federal government wants to establish marine conservation areas for the benefit of the people and their social life and to help the economy, it is ignoring the government of Quebec and provincial jurisdictions in this area.

The Bloc Quebecois opposes any attempt to duplicate and trivialize Quebec's jurisdictions over the environment, fisheries and oceans.

Again, this goes to show the bad faith of the federal government. When Canadian Heritage is involved, not too much attention is paid to Quebec's jurisdictions and to shared jurisdictions.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage has just announced an investment of $500 million in culture. It is typical again of this department: no consideration for provincial jurisdictions and no consultation. It just goes ahead without examining the action plan, if only on culture, with Quebec. Here again, in the marine conservation areas issue, the federal government's way of doing things is there for all to see.

Several witnesses appeared before the committee and said that there would be duplication and that there would be a new structure. The government wants to duplicate even within its own bureaucracy. We are wondering how consistently this bill will be applied.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of the Environment are both involved in the protection of the environment. When I talk about duplication inside the federal government, I am referring to these two departments.

How can we accept such a bill when several witness have told us there will be inconsistencies in the way it will be applied and in the management of marine conservation areas? A number of witnesses told us that this made no sense. Among those appearing before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage was the vice-president of the Fisheries Council of Canada.

The Fisheries Council of Canada is a trade association representing provincial fisheries associations in Atlantic Canada and Ontario. He told us:

If there's a need for legislation to establish marine conservation areas, it is our view that such legislation should be incorporated into the recently passed Oceans Act under the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and administered by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It is simply inefficient—

These are his words, not mine.

—cumbersome public administration to bring forward this MCA initiative in its own act under the responsibility of a separate minister and a separate department.

We can therefore see that there is duplication, inconsistency and inefficiency to come, if Bill C-10 sees the light of day. He goes on to say:

The fishing industry, for example, is working with the Fisheries and Oceans minister and Fisheries officials regarding development of an oceans strategy for Canada and an approach to the introduction of marine-protected areas. These tasks are the result of the establishment of the Oceans Act in 1996, an act that states that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans shall lead and facilitate the development and implementation of a national strategy for the management of estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems.

He went on:

Bringing forward this MCA initiative at this time under the responsibility of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, to be administered by officials of Canadian Heritage, undermines the oceans leadership role assigned to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans under the Oceans Act.

If the challenge for Canadian industry in the milieu of globalization is to be streamlined and efficient, we should be able to demand government structures that are also focused and streamlined. Regardless of the merits of MCAs, of this initiative, the manner in which it is brought forward will lead to confusion, duplication and conflicts in its implementation.

This witness testified at the committee hearings on the defunct Bill C-8, and the government has not really made any changes in Bill C-10. This is nearly exactly what was found in C-8. The witness called for the withdrawal of the bill and added:

The bill should be withdrawn. Discussions should be initiated with officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with a view to bringing forward an amendment to the Oceans Act to specifically provide for the establishment of marine conservation areas, where warranted, as part of Canada's oceans strategy.

Another quote comes from Marc Kielley, the executive director in Newfoundland of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, in February 1999. This is an association representing the interests of regional and sectoral aquaculture associations and their members, who raise fish and shellfish. He said:

Overall, while we respect the need for conservation, we object to the bill for a number of fundamental reasons. At issue: The coming into force of an act to create the national marine conservation areas will result in unnecessary and expensive duplication of existing legislation, specifically the Oceans Act, 1996, as well as the National Parks Act as amended in 1988.

Again, a witness representing the aquaculture industry felt that Bill C-8 should have been withdrawn. Therefore, if Bill C-8 should have been withdrawn, so should Bill C-10, because it is basically headed in the same direction, except for a few changes. The French version of the preamble of C-8 provided that marine areas had to be “représentatives et protégées”, whereas in the new bill, they must be “protégées et représentatives”. This is a very cosmetic amendment that does not deal with the core issue, namely duplication, overlapping and the ineffectiveness of this legislation.

In a number of departments, including two in particular, it would be hard to be consistent in implementing the law. The organization also stated:

So with regard to the implementation of the integrated management plans, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans shall develop and implement policies and programs with regard to matters assigned by law to the Minister, and shall coordinate with other ministers, boards, and agencies of the Government of Canada the implementation of policies and programs of the government with regard to all activities or measures in or affecting coastal waters or marine waters.

Based on the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that redundant legislation and, if passed, would only serve to confuse and complicate issues relating to the protection and conservation of marine resources and marine ecosystems.

To empower the Minister of Canadian Heritage for the MCA initiative effectively undermines the authority and mandate of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans as provided for under the provisions of the Oceans Act. This should not be permitted to occur.

What is the difference between a marine protected area and a marine conservation area? How do these two seemingly similar elements fit into the overall tapestry of integrated coastal zone management? What about marine wildlife areas?

So, there are several issues here. It is somewhat in that spirit that we can emphasize the inconsistency of such a bill and its ineffectiveness. A number of people may have difficulties making a decision.

When the minister tells us that this is for the good of people, for the good of the community, from an economic, cultural and social point of view, we wonder.

When credible people, people with a certain amount of expertise on the issue, come and testify, we as parliamentarians are there to analyze the experience behind and the relevance of their recommendations. We always listen in good faith. However it is always disappointing when we see the government dig in its heels with a bill. The government has gone back to the drawing board three times and each time it has come back with a bill that is no different. It has ignored what the witnesses had to say.

I wish to cite what Tom Lee, the Director General of Parks Canada, told the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. He said:

The marine conservation areas fall under a partnership with other federal departments, basically, under the general direction of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Under the Oceans Act, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans takes leadership in putting in place the protective and management measures for Canada's oceans. That involves a number of federal departments, and the two other major ones are noted here, Environment and Canadian Heritage.

Once again, there are doubts about Heritage Canada's effectiveness in managing marine conservation areas.

I have here more testimony, this time by Marlon Quinton, a project co-ordinator who appeared before the committee. He said, and I quote:

This brief is submitted to the House of Commons standing committee on behalf of the Bonavista Bay and Notre Dame Bay National Marine Conservation Area Advisory Committee Cooperation.

As a committee, we have held a series of stakeholder meetings to exchange information and obtain feedback on the suitability of the proposed marine park, to date.

He continues:

Stakeholder workshops have been held on commercial fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, and mistrust of government and how to build trust. In our deliberations we have taken a careful look at what impact this initiative would have on the Newfoundland people who earn a living on the water and at whether Bill C-48 and the proposed NMCA could negatively affect traditional and existing livelihoods, incomes, property rights, and freedoms.

He added, for another reason:

We are mystified as to why Canadian Heritage is attempting to run a parallel conservation initiative under a separate piece of legislation.

We were presented with about two pages full of objections in connection with Bill C-10, should it ever see the light of day.

There is another. I wonder how all these recommendations came to be ignored, when they simply suggested that Bill C-10 be withdrawn and not proceeded with, as there were so many witnesses who were opposed to it.

Jean-Claude Grégoire, a member of the board of directors of the Alliance des pêcheurs professionnels du Québec, also indicated the harmful nature of the bill. He spoke of the alliance membership, describing them as primarily inshore fishers who generally use fixed gear and fish along the coastline.

He went on to say that, for all manner of reasons, he would:

—not be interested in seeing a marine conservation area as intended by the spirit of the law. This is unlikely to be accepted by those industries or communities that depend on the sea for their livelihood. It will clearly have to be acceptable to stakeholders.

Once again, we see economic concerns expressed.

In light of the inefficacy Bill C-10 would have, the Bloc Quebecois is opposed to going ahead with and supporting, this bill.

Then there is the matter of Quebec jurisdiction. Why in this bill did they ignore Quebec jurisdiction over marine areas? We find it regrettable that Bill C-10 did not respect the integrity of the territory. Why did we set up the Saguenay marine park in consultation with the community, the federal government and the Quebec government?

The Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park would have been a model to follow. In 1997 the governments of Quebec and Canada agreed to pass legislation to create the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park. That legislation established the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park, the first marine park to be created jointly by the federal and Quebec governments, without any transfer of territory. Both governments will continue to fulfil their respective responsibilities.

There was also the St. Lawrence action plan, another example the government could have followed. The environment ministers of Quebec and of Canada announced phase 3 of the St. Lawrence development plan, representing a total bill of $230 million. How did they manage to agree in these two examples, and in the case of Bill C-10, which is on the table, and in the establishment of the 28 marine conservation areas, the government ignored Quebec's jurisdiction?

The government also knows that jurisdiction over the environment is shared under the Constitution Act, 1867. The federal and Quebec governments share jurisdiction over the environment. Here again, we can see the federal government's bad faith in this matter. The Constitution Act provides that: “in each province, the legislature may exclusively make laws in relation to: exploration for non-renewable natural resources in the province, development, conservation and management of non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the province, including laws in relation to the rate of primary production therefrom”.

When we see the lack of respect for provincial jurisdictions, which pertain to the exploration for natural resources, development, conservation and the management of natural resources, we see the government is ignoring provincial jurisdictions.

By refusing to use the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park Act as a model and by making title to the territory an essential condition for the establishment of marine conservation areas, the federal government would be able to establish marine conservation areas on submerged lands to which it claims to have title and thus bypass Quebec's environmental jurisdictions.

We are very disappointed with what the federal government did with the recommendations made by various witnesses, including with regard to the protection of provincial jurisdictions.

There is more. The witnesses came to tell us that marine conservation areas should not be the responsibility of Heritage Canada because of duplication within the federal government, with Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada both having a certain role to play with regard to the protection of ecosystems.

National parks come under the responsibility of Canadian Heritage, which is not necessarily doing its job. There are serious problems in some national parks. I could mention the case of Forillon park, where a cliff is threatening to slide and collapse. Nothing has been done to reinforce it, which puts the life of tourists and workers in danger. In the case of Mingan Islands park, money is needed. Several islands are threatened by erosion. Witnesses raised several problems in national parks.

Why does Heritage Canada not fulfil its responsibility in this area instead of dealing with problems that are not its concern? If it wants to do things right, it should start by doing the things for which it is responsible.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

May 10th, 2001 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak with great concern about the government's Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada. Before I comment on the areas of the bill that I find quite concerning, I would like to make the following statement.

I believe that Canada's natural heritage should be protected and that it is our responsibility to ensure a viable environment is passed on to our children and our children's children in perpetuity. However, I also believe that the very survival of many remote and coastal communities, particularly those in my riding in northern British Columbia, depend on natural resources.

British Columbia has been blessed with beauty and an abundance of natural resources, many would say more than enough to go around. Yes, we must protect our natural environment, but we must do so with the understanding that not all industry is harmful to the environment and that the economic sustainability of many coastal and remote communities hinges on their ability to extract or harvest those natural resources, be it fisheries, forestry, mining or drilling for fossil fuels. This is a reality we cannot overlook.

As members of the House undoubtedly know, the bill has had a rather difficult time making its way through parliament in the past.

An earlier form of the bill was introduced in the House of Commons during the 36th parliament as the then Bill C-48. It was referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage which heard evidence in February and March of 1999. Bill C-48 then died on the order paper when parliament was prorogued.

It reappeared in the second session of the 36th parliament as Bill C-8. It made its way as far as report stage. Although it was amended slightly in committee, it too died on the order paper when parliament dissolved to the call of the October 2000 election.

Bill C-10 before us today is a reincarnation of both Bill C-48 and Bill C-8, taking into account the 1999 amendments.

I would venture to suggest that a lack of broad public consultation is the reason for previous versions of the bill being dumped from the government's legislative agenda in the past. I would say that it still needs much amending.

I do urge the government whip to allow her members to take a long hard look at the effects of the bill and allow their conscience to guide them in making much needed changes in committee and report stage.

At this time I would like to shift my attention away from the scope of the bill and narrow in on what I believe are some key areas of the bill.

To begin, let us take a close look at the preamble, specifically lines 4 to 10 in the government's definition of precautionary principle. The bill begins by stating:

Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to adopting the precautionary principle in the conservation and management of the marine environment so that, where there are threats of environmental damage, lack of scientific certainty is not used as a reason for postponing preventive measures;

The hon. members in the House today and the viewers at home may not realize that Bill C-10 considerably expands the concept of the precautionary principle. There is broad support for the wording of principle 15 of the 1991 Rio declaration on environment and development, which states:

In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

Members of the House should be concerned that since the precautionary principle guides the government in its decision making process, this substantially expanded version allows the government to essentially create marine conservation areas wherever it pleases; the definition is that broad.

By removing the words serious or irreversible when dealing with threat assessment, the government has carte blanche to decide what warrants a designation of a marine conservation area and what does not. This is not in accordance with the Rio declaration that Canada signed on to and, as such, is not an appropriate definition of the precautionary principle.

I would urge members of the House to demand the amendment of the definition. The precautionary principle is the guiding force determining what regions become marine conservation areas. It is not acceptable that this definition be expanded arbitrarily.

I am concerned with a few other clauses of the bill, which I believe either need to be amended or entirely deleted.

The government has said that the purpose of the bill is to establish the rules that will allow for the creation of national marine conservation areas to protect and conserve marine ecosystems that are representative of the 29 marine environments in Canada's coastal zones and the Great Lakes.

Unlike national parks, whose resources are fully protected, marine conservation areas are managed for sustainable use, except where forbidden by clause 13, which deals with the exploration and extraction of any and all mineral or other deposits within a marine conservation area.

The bill would allow for sustainable use within the marine conservation area, with a focus on recreation, tourism, education and research.

Currently, federal-provincial agreements are either in place or under consideration for four parks, representing five of the twenty-nine marine regions. The proposed Gwaii Haanas park on Queen Charlotte Shelf in the Hecate Strait marine regions is in my riding of Skeena. This park could represent an area roughly equivalent to one-sixth of my total riding.

I must say that there are those who believe the intent of the legislation is to forbid any form of development within marine conservation areas and, further, to go beyond protecting the original 29 marine regions the legislation was designed for and to create many more new marine conservation areas. This is of grave concern to me and to many other Canadians.

As is mentioned in the bill, these 29 marine conservation areas would be zoned for different uses. Some may be zoned strictly for tourism, others for science, and there are many who believe most of these marine conservation areas would severely restrict any human activity, but more specifically industrial activity.

Whatever the original intent of the bill may be, I would urge members to take specific notice of clause 13, which specifically forbids any mineral or inorganic resource extraction within all marine conservation areas. Allow me to quote from the bill in clause 13 on page 9:

No person shall explore for or exploit hydrocarbons, minerals, aggregates or any other inorganic matter within a marine conservation area.

I ask the House to reflect on why the bill needs such a severely restricting, overarching clause affecting all marine conservation areas when it is supposed to be the intent of the bill to zone each area for specific usage, unless of course it is the government's intention to shut down those industries in Canada that rely on the extraction of such materials.

Furthermore, I find it quite strange that members of parliament representing areas of Atlantic Canada would not strongly object to such a clause since some of them hail from a province like Newfoundland, where the famous Hibernia offshore drilling program has successfully and, may I say, in an environmental manner penetrated the ocean's floor, and its very existence is ensuring the lives and well-being of many Newfoundlanders and Atlantic Canadians. Should such a bill and clause have been introduced prior to the Hibernia project and even prior to any exploration for that project, it possibly would never have been.

I would like to press on in this vein a little further and say that the legislation could prevent any further exploration and development off the shores of Newfoundland. For that matter, it could prevent such development off the shores of Canada, period, be it in our Atlantic, Arctic or Pacific oceans. Of course many will say that is true only if those specific areas are designated as marine conservation areas. That brings me to my next concern with the legislation.

I ask hon. members of the House to take note of clause 5 on page 4. Subclause 5(1) is most distressing and represents what is fundamentally wrong with the government. It seriously undermines the effectiveness of elected representatives in the House. I believe that once the members in the Chamber today hear what I will read from the bill they cannot help but understand that there need to be serious changes to the bill for it to be accepted in the Commons. I will quote from subclause 5(1):

Subject to section 7, for the purpose of establishing or enlarging a marine conservation area, consisting of submerged lands and waters within the internal waters, territorial sea or exclusive economic zone of Canada and any coastal lands or islands within Canada, the Governor in Council may, by order, amend Schedule 1 by adding the name and a description of the area or by altering the description of the area.

In plain English what this means is that the Prime Minister and his cabinet can decide out of the blue to create a marine conservation area in any member's riding or backyard. Yes, the bill does recommend that the Minister of Canadian Heritage consult with those she or he deems to be affected people, but it does not guarantee that their opinions will be heard and agreed to. It is conceivable, should parts of the St. Lawrence be considered a marine conservation area, that the government could restrict or reduce fishery catch levels for various species, or even shipping levels. The heritage minister might even choose some of the most fertile fishing grounds on the east coast or, for that matter, the west coast, and deem them marine conservation areas. There would be nothing we as elected members of parliament could do about it.

How does the minister think this will sit with Canadians and more so with coastal communities whose very survival in many cases depends on the resources they can extract from the sea? The power the bill in this clause takes away from Canadians and their parliament and places in the hands of a very few insiders, cabinet members, is appalling. I know my constituents will not stand for it and neither will I.

I implore members of the House to demand the amendment of the clause and to return the power of creation and enlargement of these marine conservation areas to the hands of parliament, where it will receive much reflection, consultation and thought. We are accountable to our constituents and to Canadians.

I know my comments in the House today may seem strong and passionate, but when I read on to the end of clause 5 to subclause 5(3) my blood really boils. There is no doubt that Canadians listening today should be outraged at the fact that cabinet is the sole body creating and enlarging marine conservation areas. However, it should incense them even more to learn that the body that creates these areas does not have the power to reduce or eliminate them.

Let me explain. It is all right for the government to expedite the creation of these marine conservation areas and to wield the swift power of cabinet to that end, but to reduce or eliminate an area would take an act of parliament. Allow me to read once again from the bill. I would ask members to take note of subclause 5(3) on page 5:

No amendment may be made by the Governor in Council to Schedule 1 for the purpose of removing any portion of a marine conservation area.

Of course I agree that parliament should be the body deciding on whether or not a marine conservation area should be designated. However, what Canadians may not realize is that only the government can raise in the House an amendment to an act of parliament, meaning that it would have to be the will of the government of the day to amend or remove a marine conservation area. It would not be up to individual members to do so. Although we as elected members would have the opportunity to debate such a bill, we could not make any changes on our own.

It is also important to note that it is not uncommon for a bill to take up to one year to make its way through the House of Commons and its standing committee, to the Senate and then to receive royal assent. Depending on the priority the government places on the bill, it could take even longer.

We know that in reality the time a bill spends in the House of Commons or the Senate is controlled by the government. It has been known to push bills through in weeks and it has also dragged its heels on some bills for years, not unlike what has happened to the history of this bill, I might add.

The point I am trying to make is that the government does not need to abrogate its democratic responsibility by allowing clause 5 to stand. It already has the power to push bills into law and could create as many marine conservation areas as it likes.

I would urge the government to do the right thing and allow parliament its due evaluation, consultation and amendment of bills relating to specific marine conservation areas, not ram this omnibus piece of legislation through the House.

I would ask members to support amendments to the legislation that would see the need for the government to introduce specific legislation for every marine conservation area it plans to designate.

I would ask members to support amendments to remove clause 13. As mentioned, that clause would eliminate the ability to ever extract resources from the marine conservation areas regardless of the environmental viability of any project.

I will leave you and my hon. colleagues with these final words of caution and conscience. Members should ask themselves how their constituents would react if their fishing grounds were to become protected under the bill. How would their constituents feel if their activities, those which, I might add, put food on their tables and clothes on their children's backs, could not be continued? What if they were told they could not work or that the bill would drastically affect the future of their community? I would venture to suggest members of parliament would want to consult widely, bring their concerns to the attention of the minister and have their day in the House to express those opinions and to convince their colleagues to support their endeavours.

As this bill currently stands, hon. members will never have that opportunity. That is wrong. Therefore I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following therefor: Bill C-10, An Act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, be not now read a second time but that the Order be discharged, the Bill withdrawn and the subject matter thereof referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

May 2nd, 2001 / 4:45 p.m.
See context


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-10, an act respecting the national—they have now become national—marine conservation areas of Canada. They were only marine conservation areas before. Now they have become national marine conservation areas. It is a huge change that occurred between the 36th and the 37th parliaments.

For the benefit of the people who are watching us, I would like to remind the House that, in the first session of the 36th parliament, the government introduced Bill C-48, which dealt with this issue but left out the word national and just talked about marine conservation areas.

The bill died on the order paper, because the Prime Minister decided to prorogue the House and start a new session.

There was a new throne speech, in which the Prime Minister told us that his government had realized that it was time to put an end to federal-provincial overlap. That was quite a major announcement. We looked forward to see how it would come about. It was a disaster.

Soon after, Bill C-8 was introduced. It came earlier in the session, as we can tell from the number it was given. It was introduced at the beginning of the second session of the 36th parliament.

During the first session, the bill had gone through first and second reading. Witnesses had appeared before the committee, a report had been tabled in the House and recommendations had been made. At the time, we thought that Bill C-8 would include improvements since the government had taken its time and had let public officials, lawyers, parliamentarians and witnesses spend time on it. We thought “All this money will not go to waste; the government will improve Bill C-8".

No such luck. Bill C-8 was a carbon copy of Bill C-48. The bill went through first reading, second reading, and was referred to a committee, which heard witnesses and reported back to the House and made recommendations.

My former colleague, the hon. member for Portneuf who made the wise decision of going back to teaching, would be very disappointed to see Bill C-10, because after spending so much time on Bill C-8, he would feel that it was a waste of his time.

However, in all fairness to the government, I must say that Bill C-10 does include a few changes.

Some changes were made in the preamble. For example, the French version of the old bill provided that marine areas had to be “représentatives et protégées", whereas in the new bill, they must be “protégées et représentatives". It goes without saying that this change, which is found in the preamble, adds a lot to the bill.

The government also seeks to "recognize that the marine environment is fundamental to the social, cultural and economic well-being of people living in coastal communities". If the marine environment is essential to the development of coastal communities, from a social, cultural and economic point of view, why should we have marine areas where people will have to pay, as is the case with every national park? We have beautiful national parks, but we must pay to visit them.

The idea was to protect ecosystems. The idea was to make sure that future generations would see the splendours of this vast country, but those who do not have money can no longer see this natural beauty, because they have to pay to do so.

One has to see how the government behaves. I will use an example with which I am very familiar. I see my colleague from Charlevoix. We both live in a coastal area, an area where there are problems in the lumber industry. What is being done to help our loggers? Nothing.

We have a lot of problems with fishers. What is being done? Sure, there are all kinds of problems. Quotas are being given to other provinces, but the government is even unable to honour Quebec's historic fishing quotas. We are demanding our fair share, but it is being denied. Quotas are being given to people who never had any before, when the policy has always been to honour Quebec's historic quotas.

We have problems with loggers, with fishers, with seasonal workers. We were promised a reform of the employment insurance plan, which is not forthcoming. How do you think our coastal communities will react when the government tries to take their lands to create national marine conservation areas? I think we will be able to occupy our lands to fight expropriation. We will take action in due course.

This government's arrogant attitude in forging ties with the communities will not serve it well when it tries to take their marine property, ignoring all social, cultural and economic considerations. A marine area will not put food on the table for people in our ridings.

There is something else. The government wants to promote an understanding of the marine environment and provide opportunities for research and monitoring. If being ridiculous were fatal, the people in the government over there would all have been dead long ago.

I am going to return to some of the statements referred to by my colleague, which I find extremely important.

In the 1996 report of the auditor general, chapter 31, on the management of national parks by Parks Canada, the auditor general makes the following statement “In the six national parks we reviewed, Parks Canada's biophysical information was out-of-date or incomplete except for La Mauricie".

It seems that everything is fine in La Mauricie National Park. Curiously it is in the Prime Minister's riding. In five national parks out of six that were studied, there were problems with biophysical information. What are we going to do to promote knowledge of the marine environment and encourage research and monitoring activities? How can the minister do so when the parks have been in existence for some time and are incapable of doing this at present?

The text continues "Monitoring the ecological condition of the ecosystems in national parks is a high priority, according to Parks Canada policies and guidelines. However, in many national parks—he looked at six—the ecological conditions are not monitored on a regular, continuing basis." What will be done in the marine parks if this is not even being done in the major parks?

The text also states that management plans for 18 national parks were an average of 12 years old, even though they ought to be reviewed every five years. A fine business: the plans are to be reviewed every five years, but 18 parks had an outdated plan. This is the best that can be said in order to be elegant.

The plans set out strategic guidelines to protect the parks' ecosystems. If the plan is out of date after five years, what state can the ecosystems of the park be in when the business plan is 12 years out of date? That makes no sense.

The auditor general added “Delays in preparing management plans and ecosystem conservation plans reduce Parks Canada's ability to preserve the ecological integrity of national parks".

The auditor general's findings on the state of our national parks were pitiful. He said that in almost the majority of the parks visited there was no link between business plans and management plans. That is pretty terrific.

I wonder why officials are asked to do them if there is no link between the two. The auditor general also expressed concern about the fact that, in some instances, park management plans focus mainly on economic and social factors and little on ecological factors. This is what they are setting up in the parks to protect the ecosystems, and this is the department's last concern. The least of Parks Canada's concerns is looking after ecological factors, the very reason for its existence.

When the government says it is going to do this in marine areas, how can we be expected to believe what is written in black and white? The government's intent, its political desire, is not worth even the cost of the paper these things are written on.

The auditor general is also concerned about the impact of the marketing plan on the preservation of ecosystems. Thanks to its marketing strategy, Parks Canada expects to draw an increasing number of Canadians and foreign visitors, who will stay longer. This is about making more money, not protecting our ecosystems. This strategy should increase visits in off seasons.

We are concerned that Parks Canada's ability to preserve ecological integrity in national parks and ensure sustainable park use will be seriously challenged.

We want the legislation to be updated through Bill C-10, which includes good intentions, but already the government is not capable of doing what it is supposed to do with the parks, and I am not at all convinced that it will be able to do it with marine areas.

Another change is the provision to involve federal and provincial ministers and agencies, affected aboriginal organizations and coastal communities and other persons and bodies, including bodies established under land claims agreements, in the effort to establish and maintain the representative system of marine conservation areas.

Again, I see a good intention. However, when we look at how the government proceeded with the consultations on its own bill, we cannot give any credibility to that process.

When the original bill, Bill C-48 was introduced, we told the government “Show us the results of the consultations that took place". We talked about these consultations in committee. Officials came to meet us and said that consultations were held and that this or that came out. However, when we wanted to get the real results of the consultation process, we had to apply under the Access to Information Act.

You know what happens when you make an access to information request, Mr. Speaker, because you were once an opposition member. What it boils down to is that we have access to nothing, because what we receive are eight and a half by eleven sheets, usually with so many lines blacked out that it is impossible to read the text.

When I was young, we did exercises where we filled in the blanks. It would seem that access to information officials have retained memories of this experience and are supplying us with all sorts of blanks by blacking out the important bits that would allow us to understand the text. Since the text is full of blanks, it takes quite a bit of imagination to be able to make any sense of it.

Consultation produced absolutely nothing. We received 300 sheets of paper. Only 73 of them resembled a sort of little reply coupon, which was attached to the consultation document. Even then, we were unable to see the real results of the consultation.

When the department tells us that the purpose of its bill is to respond to the concerns of those consulted, I say that that is false. There is no evidence of this in the bill. In any case, we are unable to obtain the evidence. When someone is unable to prove what he is telling me when questioned, it is because there is no proof.

If there were, we would be handed the results of a real consultation, without a fuss, and told “Here are the questions we asked, here are the answers we received, and here is what we did with those answers". Instead, we are kept in the dark and told “Yes, we consulted".

It is very important to be increasingly more democratic in this country. The government just had 34 heads of state sign a declaration to the effect that democracy is the most important value. The government should apply democracy here, in our own country, before asking others to do it.

The bill also expands on this. This is an addition to the bill. After all, I can be fair. Clause 2(2) reads as follows:

For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for existing aboriginal or treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada by the recognition and affirmation of those rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

This was added in response to a request that they made or a concern they had expressed. I can see that the government responded positively to that concern, and this is a good thing.

Clause 2(3) provides the following:

The establishment of a marine conservation area within the exclusive economic zone of Canada does not constitute a claim to any rights, jurisdiction or duties beyond those set out in section 14 of the Oceans Act.

Earlier, my colleague pointed out the interesting points in this bill. When the government decided to end the overlap in federal-provincial jurisdictions, it forgot to look at itself.

The government will find itself with all sorts of marine areas. We will no longer know how to distinguish among them, what to call them, or who is responsible for what. I assume that at some point, if something happens, everyone will pass the buck and people will be left asking what is happening and who is responsible for what.

The Department of Canadian Heritage wants to create national marine conservation areas. Under the Oceans Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada may create marine protection zones.

Frankly, how can one tell the difference between a marine protection zone and a national marine conservation area? The government is playing with words, with concepts, trying to take over as much territory as possible.

Under the Canadian Wildlife Act, the federal government, through Environment Canada, can create national wildlife areas and marine wildlife areas. Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, it can create migratory bird sanctuaries.

I am thinking about the beautiful area I come from and about my colleague in whose riding the beautiful Saguenay-St.Lawrence park is located. The government might want to create not far from there a national marine conservation area, a marine protection zone or a national wildlife area because they might be useful to have in this area of the country. This would bring in more tourism, since this seems to be the goal. Moreover, a marine wildlife area could be created there, as well as a migratory bird sanctuary.

That would mean five things in the same spot because it is a beautiful area and the federal government will say “It is so beautiful, we are taking it over".

The government always finds a way to get into trouble. I hope that this session will quickly be prorogued, so that this bill will die on the order paper, because the government did not do its homework on this bill.

It has already been considered twice. We will have to ask witnesses to come back, once again. The government will probably say “So many witnesses were brought before the committee that there is nothing more to add". On the contrary, they would say “You did not understand a thing about what we said before".

The bill must be overhauled. It must take into consideration what the public wants. I see that my time is running out, so I will conclude.

I hope the government members have been listening carefully and have realized that the time has come to follow up on things that make sense. I really rely on the member opposite.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

May 2nd, 2001 / 4:25 p.m.
See context


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, before dealing with today's issue, namely marine areas, I would like to point out that the members who are wearing a carnation today are doing so to mark the tough battle that is fought by people suffering from multiple sclerosis, a disease that primarily hits young people, including my daughter.

The bill before us today was introduced in the House by the Liberal government for the third time, after dying on the order paper during each of the two sessions of the last parliament, as Bill C-48 and Bill C-8 respectively.

This government, which is short on ideas, is coming back with the same bill, except for one thing: it has a different number. As for the rest, it is all the same as before. One would have thought that after listening to a large number of witnesses in committee during the last parliament, after hearing the concerns of parliamentarians in this House and after seeking a new mandate from the public, the Minister of Canadian Heritage would have changed her approach.

I would have thought the minister would have gone back to the drawing board to come up with a bill that was a bit more sensitive to the concerns raised by witnesses before the committee and by members in the House. Nothing was done. We are therefore very disappointed.

By introducing a bill which is a carbon copy of the previous version, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and her government have once again ignored anyone who did not share their views. That is why the bill is no more acceptable today than it was earlier.

The purpose of Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, is to provide a legal framework for the establishment of 28 marine conservation areas, representative of each of the Canadian ecosystems. The Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park is the 29th marine conservation area. It will not be governed by this legislation since it already has its own legislation.

It is also important to note that this bill follows a commitment made by the present Prime Minister at the 1996 convention of the World Conservation Union, held in Montreal. On this occasion, as in 1994, the World Conservation Union, which represents 74 governments, 105 government agencies and more than 700 NGOs, passed resolutions calling on all coastal nations to put marine conservation measures in place quickly.

First, I wish to say that the Bloc Quebecois has always been in favour of measures to protect our environment. I remind those listening that the Bloc Quebecois supported the government when it introduced its legislation to create the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park.

Why is the Bloc Quebecois opposed to this bill? Despite the fact that we support the establishment of environmental protection measures, the Bloc Quebecois opposes it because, instead of focusing on working together, as it did in the case of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park or phase III of the St. Lawrence action plan, the federal government is introducing marine conservation areas with no regard for Quebec's jurisdiction over its territory and environment.

Heritage Canada is planning to introduce a new structure, marine conservation areas, which will duplicate the marine protection zones of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the protected marine areas of Environment Canada.

Heritage Canada wants to have marine conservation areas, while it has shown itself incapable of protecting the ecosystems in existing national parks.

One of the conditions essential to the establishment of a marine conservation area is federal ownership of the land where the area is to be established. Moreover, clause 5(2) of the bill provides that the minister cannot establish a marine conservation area, unless, and I quote: a ) the Governor in Council is satisfied that Her Majesty in right of Canada has clear title to or an unencumbered right of ownership in the lands to be included in the marine conservation area, other than such lands situated within the exclusive economic zone of Canada;

There is a fairly significant legal problem here, because subsection 92(5) of the Constitution Act, 1867, recognizes that the management and sale of crown land are matters of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. There is therefore no federal title in this context.

Furthermore, Quebec legislation on crown lands, passed by the Quebec national assembly, applies to all crown lands in Quebec, including the beds of waterways and lakes and the bed of the St. Lawrence river, estuary and gulf, which belong to Quebec by sovereign right.

In addition, this legislation provides that Quebec cannot transfer its lands to the federal government. The only thing it can do is to authorize the federal government to use them only in connection with matters under federal jurisdiction.

According to the notes provided us by the Minister of Canadian Heritage with regard to the bill before us, marine conservation areas are planned for the St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. These are three areas in which the ocean floor is under Quebec's jurisdiction.

This almost sick propensity for the federal government to interfere where it has no business being is quite simply unacceptable. Fortunately, the Bloc Quebecois is here to remind it of this, and to condemn its actions.

This approach is even more incomprehensible because co-operative mechanisms already exist to protect ecosystems in the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park, and in the St. Lawrence River under the agreement entitled "St. Lawrence action plan, phase III" which was signed by all federal departments and Quebec departments concerned.

There are two examples that should be followed: the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park and phase III of the St. Lawrence action plan.

In 1977, the governments of Quebec and Canada passed identical acts to create the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park. This resulted in the creation of Canada's first marine conservation area.

One of the main features of that legislation is that the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park is the first Marine Park to be created jointly by the federal and Quebec governments, without any transfer of territory. The two governments will continue to fulfil their respective responsibilities.

This park includes only marine areas. Its boundaries may be changed only through an agreement between the two governments, provided there is joint public consultation in that regard.

This ought to have served as a model for the federal government in the creation of other marine conservation areas, but no.

Another model that the Minister of Canadian Heritage could have followed is phase III of the St. Lawrence action plan. That phase, which was announced on June 8, 1998, represented a total investment of $230 million that was shared equally by both levels of government.

Why does the heritage minister not follow these two successful initiatives and why is she now claiming exclusive ownership of the seabed to set up marine conservation areas, when partnerships in the area of the environment have so far been successful?

We wonder about the true intentions of the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Will the federal government respect Quebec's constitutional territorial rights in that regard, or will it again ignore it to create marine areas where it believes such areas are necessary?

The environment is a shared jurisdiction. Let us never forget that, under the Constitution Act, 1867, the governments of Canada and Quebec share responsibility for the environment.

Under section 92(1)( a ) of the Constitution Act, 1867, Quebec passed an act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife that specifies, in section 2, the role to be played by the Quebec minister of the environment and wildlife. It is the following:

The Minister of the Environment and Fauna ensures the conservation and development of wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Under Quebec's legislation, the minister also has the authority to appoint conservation officers.

By refusing to use the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park Act as a model and by making title to the territory an essential condition for the establishment of marine conservation areas, the federal government would be able to establish marine conservation areas on submerged lands to which it claims to have title and thus bypass Quebec's environmental jurisdictions.

This is why it is important to be on the lookout and to reject any form of regulation or action which would undermine the national assembly of Quebec in this regard.

The Bloc Quebecois will not let the federal government have its way on this issue nor let it fulfil its insatiable desire to trivialize our institutions, our rights and our laws, just as it is not giving in on social policy in the young offenders legislation saga.

Respect for the integrity of Quebec's territory alone justifies the fight the Bloc Quebecois is waging against this bill, but there are other reasons we must oppose it.

The federal government intends to create marine conservation areas under the responsibility of Heritage Canada, so there is a lot of overlap within the federal government. On the one hand, there is Heritage Canada and, on the other, there are marine protection areas under the responsibility of Fisheries and Oceans and marine wildlife areas under the responsibility of Environment Canada. A lot of people are involved here.

One question immediately comes to mind. What are Heritage Canada's reasons for establishing marine conservation areas? They can be found in the preamble to this bill.

It is establishing marine conservation areas “to protect natural, self-regulating marine ecosystems for the maintenance of biological diversity"; second, “to establish a representative system of marine conservation areas"; third, “to ensure that Canada contributes to international efforts for the establishment of a worldwide network of representative marine areas"; fourth, “to provide opportunities for the people of Canada and of the world to appreciate Canada's natural and cultural marine heritage"; and, fifth, “to provide opportunities within marine conservation areas for the ecologically sustainable use of marine resources for the lasting benefit of coastal communities".

As for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, it proposed the establishment of marine protected areas. However, in a discussion paper released by Fisheries and Oceans in January 1997 and entitled “An Approach to the establishment and Management of Marine Protected Areas under the Oceans Act", the purpose of marine conservation areas is also described.

In both cases, we are told that local people will have a significant involvement in the establishment of marine protected areas. I wonder how many information or organization meetings local people will be invited to in order to satisfy its bureaucracy.

Finally, Environment Canada is proposing, so as not to be left behind, to establish marine and wildlife reserves, expanding the notion of the national wildlife sanctuary beyond the territorial sea to the 200 mile limit within the exclusive economic zone under the Canadian Oceans Act.

These areas are also subject to the Canadian Wildlife Act, but require a different set of regulations, as the Fisheries and Oceans Canada discussion paper states on page 49. It is quite the pandemonium from what I can see.

At the hearings in February 1999, almost all coastal groups who appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to speak out against this bill emphasized their lack of understanding of the federal government's position.

They argued that the Canadian heritage initiative would duplicate what is already being done by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and create a great deal of confusion.

I will read from some of the testimony given. According to Patrick McGuinness, vice-president of the Fisheries Council of Canada:

If the challenge for Canadian industry in the milieu of globalization is to be streamlined and efficient, we should be able to demand government structures that are also focused and streamlined. Regardless of the merits of MCAs, of this initiative, the manner in which it is brought forward will lead to confusion, duplication and conflicts in its implementation

Quoting from another witness, Marc Kielly, executive director, Newfoundland, Aquaculture Industry Association:

To empower the Minister of Canadian Heritage for the MCA initiative effectively undermines the authority and mandate of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans as provided for under the provisions of the Oceans Act. This should not be permitted to occur.

Here is another excerpt, from the testimony by John Melindy, project co-ordinator, NMCA feasibility study advisory committee:

Now, through the Oceans Act, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is empowered to declare marine protected areas to conserve species under threat. In view of this fact, we are mystified as to why Canadian Heritage is attempting to run a parallel conservation initiative under a separate piece of legislation.

Why, then, call witnesses and then not pay any attention to their concerns? Why not look into the areas we were directed to by the various witnesses?

One thing is clear. The government would have been better advised to have a single department oversee the protection of ecosystems and the departments concerned conclude a framework agreement delegating their responsibilities to the one chosen to be accountable in this matter, but the Minister of Canadian Heritage refuses to listen to reason.

A number of witnesses emphasized the duplications within the bill, but that is not all. Is there even more confusion in this bill? If you answer yes, you hit the jackpot.

As unbelievable as it may seem, the bill provides that each federal department will retain its own jurisdiction over the marine conservation areas.

However, when the Department of Canadian Heritage deems it appropriate, it may, in co-operation with the department concerned, adopt regulations regarding a marine conservation area that differ from the existing provisions.

Although this might seem normal in other circumstances, the difficulties can only increase when Heritage Canada regulations are enforced in marine protected areas, marine wildlife reserves and marine conservation areas, each with their own regulations.

We have another good reason for opposing this bill: Heritage Canada is incapable of protecting the ecosystems in existing national parks.

In 1996, the Auditor General of Canada published chapter 31 on the management of national parks by Parks Canada. In this chapter, the auditor general made some, to say the least, embarrassing observations, some of which follow:

Monitoring the ecological condition of the ecosystems in national parks is a high priority, according to Parks Canada policies and guidelines. However, in many national parks, the ecological conditions are not monitored on a regular, continuing basis.

On average, the management plans for the 18 national parks were 12 years old, when they should have been reviewed every five years. The park management plans provide strategic direction for the protection of park ecosystems.

The auditor general added:

Delays in preparing management plans and ecosystem conservation plans reduce Parks Canada's ability to preserve the ecological integrity of national parks.

They cannot do their own homework regarding the follow up on national parks. How will they be able to do it for marine areas? The auditor general went even further when he said:

We are concerned that Parks Canada's ability to preserve ecological integrity in national parks and ensure sustainable park use will be seriously challenged.

Before duplicating what is basically being done elsewhere, including with marine wildlife reserves by Fisheries and Oceans, would it not be logical for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to ensure that national parks ecosystems are protected for future generations, as stated in the National Parks Act?

This bill is a means that the Liberal government wants to have to impose its centralizing vision.

This is a government that is anxious to intrude in provincial jurisdictions. With this bill, we are seeing the exact opposite of the “flexible federalism" that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs boasts about.

Thank goodness the Bloc Quebecois is there to condemn what the federal government is planning on doing, namely to duplicate and totally lack any consistency.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

May 2nd, 2001 / 4 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to speak as the official opposition critic for Canadian heritage on this bill, Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, at second reading.

What we have before us today is the third attempt to pass this legislation. This bill was Bill C-48, then Bill C-8 in the last parliament, and now returns as Bill C-10 in this parliament. What does this tell us about the commitment of the government to this legislation? It tells us that the commitment is not very great and it is very evident why. Even after three tries this legislation remains seriously flawed.

First, let us not be fooled by the language that was originally used to introduce this legislation. I certainly would not disagree with a proposal that would require marine conservation areas to be established for the protection and conservation of “representative marine areas of Canadian significance” and would be “for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people of Canada and the world”.

However, upon closer inspection the bill does far more than the government is prepared to admit.

The first area of concern I wish to draw attention to is one involving the consultation process and where these 29 representative marine conservation areas are to be established. As with the first two bills, in this current bill the schedule is blank.

What is the government afraid of? The government is afraid that the same thing will happen as what occurred in the Bonavista and Notre Dame Bays area in Newfoundland, when political pressure from the local Liberal member, and I suspect from the current industry minister and former premier, stopped a marine conservation area from going forward.

I am not criticizing the former member for Bonavista—Trinity—Conception for representing his constituents and their well founded fears that unemployment and economic hardship would follow the good intentions of a federal bureaucrat over 2,000 kilometres away in a comfy office, drawing a salary of $100,000 a year.

What about those ridings that have upheld the democratic process and elected a member of the loyal opposition or, worse, have an elected or weak or too compliant member of the government?

We have real fears when we read the literature from the minister's department that talks about replacing the checks, balances and safeguards of parliament for, in the words of her department, the “simple, cost-effective procedure” of order in council to establish or enlarge marine conservation areas. Previous debates have pointed out this very serious flaw and yet here it is a third time and still this flaw remains.

I pay tribute to my colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River, for his input when this bill was Bill C-48. He very clearly pointed out the Henry VIII clauses in the bill. I encourage recently elected members of the House to read the hon. member's speech. Henry VIII believed in the divine right to rule and was always looking for ways to sidestep parliament and its ultimate authority as an elected body. It seems some things never change.

The current process, where the act has to be opened up and amended when a new national park is contemplated or changes to an existing park are considered, may not be as efficient as the government would like but it is consistent with our democratic heritage.

As the government is now beginning to realize, democracy can be messy. It is this style of legislation, the Bill C-10s, that will span more Quebec City types of demonstrations. As this government seeks new and creative ways to exclude people from the democratic process, unfortunately we will all pay the price with a fractured nation. Separatism feeds on these sorts of government dictates. If the minister were truly interested in freedom of speech, she would not be proposing government by order in council legislation.

The people of Canada have much to fear from the consultation process of the Department of Canadian Heritage. The process is so flawed that not only does it ignore the advice of the people, it will not follow the advice of its own studies. Nowhere is this more evident today than in the example of Parks Canada and its reaction to a health and safety issue regarding park wardens.

The minister should know that there have been three separate reports since 1993 that have identified unsafe working conditions for park wardens, particularly with the significant increase in fines for poaching in our national parks. Park wardens are being put at greater and greater risk in the performance of their duties.

It took a ruling from the HRDC labour program inspector to force the department to respond. Did the department and the minister do the right thing and accept the recommendations of three separate reports, recommendations, I might add, that are supported by the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Animal Alliance of Canada? No.

The minister chose to ignore the best advice given and is blundering forward with an ill conceived and costly measure that makes no sense at all. It is very clear that the minister has a very poor record when it comes to taking good advice.

The only reason we in the official opposition can see for the government to ignore its own advice would be because of some hidden agenda. The reported plan to replace park wardens with RCMP officers, with a detachment in every national park in Canada, is absolutely sinister. What better way for a federal government to enforce unpopular laws, laws that the provincial governments want no part of, than to do it with its own police force?

As the federal government enacts more unpopular laws on an unwilling rural population, how convenient that the federal police officers are there for the Liberal government to call upon.

This labour dispute that Parks Canada is having with its park wardens will impact upon this legislation in a very significant manner. Clauses 18 to 23 of Bill C-10, the enforcement section of the act, in the current labour dispute means the act would not be enforced. It is one thing to require RCMP officers on land to go after poachers. Has the minister, in her $37 million request to the treasury board for the money to replace park wardens with RCMP officers, also put in a request for boats?

This is beginning to sound like the gun registry boondoggle, where an $85 million cost has skyrocketed to $600 million and counting. The people of the city of Pembroke in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke are currently in the process of raising the money locally to buy a CAT scanner, thanks to the federal government's two tier health care policy. That $637 million would save a lot of lives in the community of Pembroke and a lot in other parts of rural Canada.

I and members of the official opposition are very concerned about the consultative process, based on the concerns expressed to our members over the bias of this government against rural Canadians.

While I understand that the letter from the Mayor of Kitimat was made available to the members on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage when this legislation was called Bill C-48, I would like to quote from his letter as I believe it to be a fair reflection of the thoughts and feelings of rural Canadians:

Sadly, urban Canadians and senior levels of government seldom grasp the values associated with rural life, whether it be fishing, farming or forestry. All too often, regulation and legislation occurs that impacts rural Canada and rural Canadians significantly, while having little or no impact on urban life and, therefore, is supported wholeheartedly by the non-rural vote. In the best case scenario governments end up conceding ignorance. At other times a blatant disregard for rural Canadians occurs and is only rectified once social or economic crisis occurs.

It continues:

As a misunderstood rural population, we often wish the same commitment and daily practice toward our environment would be evident in urban centres. Often it appears that those who push for environmental and conservation laws do not enact the same values with their own regions...We understand our rural and remote populations are small, however...we chose to live in rural locations. At best, it is our hope that Canada be governed based on assessed needs and values of all Canadians...Further, we hope that persistent inaccuracies and ignorance of rural and remote lifestyles can be overcome.

The letter is quite a bit longer. However, I hope the essence of what the mayor was trying to convey about the legislation is apparent. The majority of Canadians, especially those of us in rural Canada, do not trust the federal bureaucracy to represent our interests fairly.

Even when we get good people who as public servants are trying to do the best job possible, they are overruled by their political masters, as is the case with the park wardens. Too often our interests have been sacrificed to political expediency.

There are too many votes for the Liberals in the city of Toronto to require it to deal with its own garbage. It is so much easier to dump it in someone else's backyard, in this case the backyard of the people in the riding of Timiskaming—Cochrane, near the pretty town of Kirkland Lake. Better to lose one seat than to jeopardize that big urban vote, and this government wonders why rural people should fear Ottawa when cynical calculations such as this are made by a troika of political manipulators. Actions speak louder than words. Where was the Minister of the Environment? For a government that is constantly looking for ways to intrude into areas of provincial jurisdiction, it suddenly became remarkably silent on the issue of Toronto's garbage.

I am optimistic that maybe this time, the third time the legislation has come forward, the government might surprise Canadians and address some of these concerns. For this I look beyond the minister and her cabinet cohorts to her caucus colleagues, in particular those MPs who represent rural constituencies.

Those Ontario MPs whose ridings border the Great Lakes should be very concerned about how the legislation will adversely impact farmers, fishing enthusiasts, resort operators and other small business people who are the backbone of our nation. They should not be fooled by the soothing words of the minister and her bureaucrats when they tell them not to worry, be happy.

How about the farmer who sprays his or her crops with herbicide? Once the marine parks act is in place the regulators will move into the watersheds. The legislation will finish off those farmers who have not already been pushed out of business by foreign subsidies.

The people of Newfoundland got off lucky when the marine conservation area in their backyard was stopped. Will others be so lucky when the legislation is passed? It was lucky for them when they raised their objections that it was not yet law. Do rural constituents favour letting the bill drop the way it was the first two times?

It is ironic that the minister's own riding borders Lake Ontario. It has been pointed out previously that her own legislation could be used to shut down her constituents' largest employer. Cootes Paradise is certainly a unique waterfront, so unique in fact that several years ago the answer to the pollution in Hamilton harbour was to pave the bay. I am very surprised that the minister is proceeding with the legislation that has the real possibility of doing great harm to her constituents.

By the department of heritage's own admission there is already enough federal and provincial legislation in place to protect and conserve heritage resources. Federal-provincial agreements are in place for marine conservation areas in Ontario and British Columbia.

Currently federal legislation is in place for the Saguenay region of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. The federal legislation for St. Lawrence park was accompanied by complementary provincial legislation. Obviously the Quebec government saw the threat of federal intrusion and reacted accordingly. Why is there a need for the legislation other than the usual power grab by the Liberals?

It is no secret that the Liberal government is being pressured by NAFTA and the United States to allow bulk water sales. The trial balloon floated by the member for Toronto—Danforth before the summit of the Americas was no coincidence. Some Canadians are concerned that Bill C-10 is a Trojan horse for bulk water sales.

The legislation clearly impacts on provincial jurisdiction and would give the Liberal government the wedge it needs to start negotiations for bulk water export from the Great Lakes to the United States. These people are concerned that the government operates on the basis of multiple hidden agendas, except this agenda for water sales is being exposed for what it is.

What a coincidence that at the same time as Bill C-10 shows up on the parliamentary agenda a sister bill, Bill C-6, shows up. Surprise, surprise, it is all about licences for those people who want to engage in bulk water exports.

Perhaps it should be the Minister of Foreign Affairs who is identified as the sponsor of the bill. The legislation is a clear encroachment into an area of provincial jurisdiction. Once the bill is in place, the minister has arranged for any changes to be by order in council and thus avoid public debate in the House of Commons and in the media.

The province of Ontario is on record as opposing bulk water exports from the Great Lakes, and the federal government is currently unable to act without provincial agreement.

The legislation is conceived in such a way as to avoid that scrutiny. I challenge the federal government to accept amendments to the legislation that would expressly prohibit the bulk export of water from the Great Lakes and a clearer definition of sustainable use in national marine conservation areas.

The decision about whether Canada should or should not allow for the bulk export of water should be done in open and in public. The Toronto Star , as the in house organ of the Liberal Party, is opposed to bulk water sales. We know the government is deathly afraid of doing anything to disturb that Toronto vote and recriminations that would be heaped upon it by the Star in any debate regarding water.

The government is government by stealth. Unlike the Liberals we in the official opposition want open debate regarding any issue that impacts the public. Barring that and other changes we in the official opposition intend to propose, we are willing to tell the government to let the bill drop once again until, and only until, the concerns of all Canadians are met.

It is clear that the third time out the government is timid about Bill C-10 in public. I have had the privilege of meeting some parliamentarians on the government side who feel the same way the rest of us do who represent rural constituencies and must share the same fears I have expressed about this type of legislation.

The legislation, even if it were needed, is too flawed to go forth in its current form. We in the Canadian Alliance affirm the role of the federal government in the preservation of Canada's natural and historic heritage such as national parks.

We also affirm the right of Canada as a sovereign nation to govern itself in a way that benefits all its people. We do not recognize the inevitable loss of sovereignty every time the Prime Minister goes off and makes a commitment before an international body, in this case the IUCN World Conservation Congress in October 1996, without first consulting the people who will be most severely affected by such an agreement.

More important, we require the input of parliament before the people of Canada are put on the hook for something they may be very unwilling to support. The pretext for the legislation was that it was an international agreement. I do not believe the framers of that agreement at the UN intended the Government of Canada to use it in any other way to erode democracy in Canada.

This is not an issue for the Minister of Canadian Heritage. This is legislation, albeit in a greatly changed form, that more properly should be in the name of the Minister of the Environment. This point was made previously in debate on Bill C-48 and Bill C-8. The point needs to be emphasized here again: the issues before us and our international commitments concerning the environment should remain with that ministry.

On behalf of the Canadian Alliance I would like to be able to support legislation to create national marine conservation areas. However as the legislation is presented it is not justified in its current form.

I would now like to respond to those individuals who might be tempted to say that we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater because there are some worthwhile aspects of the bill that we surely can support. To those individuals I say there is nothing in the bill the government could not accomplish if it would just sit down and take the time to talk to the provinces, which in turn would require the federal government to talk to those communities that would be affected by the creation of a marine park. As proposed, the shortcut the bill is all about is not acceptable.

In conclusion, I call upon the minister to send the bill back to the drawing board. Maybe the fourth time out the government can get it right.