An Act to amend the Copyright Act

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

Sponsor

Sheila Copps  Liberal

Status

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

Elsewhere

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.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2002 / 3:30 p.m.
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Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, much has been said by the previous speakers to put into context the purpose of the legislation, namely, to amend the Copyright Act.

Bill C-48 would ensure that retransmitters who benefited from compulsory licensing regained the regime provided for in section 31 of the Copyright Act. It would ensure other retransmitters met the conditions prescribed by regulation. It would also ensure parity and fairness throughout the regulatory regime.

There were issues pertaining to fairness. There was concern that the bill include regulations to prevent loopholes and ensure that individuals could not make use of new technologies to rob those who provide the service. I am talking particularly of television stations; entities such as the NHL, CFL and other sporting organizations; and the movie industry.

The spirit of co-operation on the committee and the amount of input we received in a relatively short period was extraordinary. I give kudos to the parliamentary secretary, the chair of the committee, all members of the Bloc, and a particular member who put a great deal of extraordinary effort into ensuring the proper balance was met.

We in the Progressive Conservative Party support the amendments and the bill. Bill C-48 came about as a result of a great deal of co-operation and effort. Members united to do the right thing and put in place a proper regulatory regime to protect everyone and ensure all the industry interests were met.

If I may echo the sentiments of my hon. colleague from Nova Scotia, there is no doubt that we will be required to come back and re-examine some of the issues as technology and the industry evolve. However this is where we want to be at this point. We in our party support the effort. I again congratulate all fellow committee members.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2002 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Or no hair at all. However the process is essential if we are to protect creators' rights.

In the legislation which continues to be changed and amended we must respect some of the central principles on which our broadcasting policy, our heritage policy and the pillars of the country are based. As we move along we must make sure the legislation would continue to respect Canadian content as new technologies came onstream and became new platforms for broadcasting. We must make sure there would be no loopholes and that the playing field would be level for all broadcasters in Canada. This must be done to ensure all creators in the country would continue to be covered by our copyright legislation and enjoy the same rights. We must make sure their work would be valued and compensated whether it appeared on the Internet, on the radio, in the print media or wherever.

With respect to the issue of putting money into Canadian content and such things as the Canadian broadcast fund, we must make sure environments such as the Internet or whatever follows the Internet would not somehow be exempt from the licensing fees used to nurture Canadian content.

These are important principles we in the New Democratic Party will be paying attention to as we continue to work through the copyright legislation. We will give our endorsement to Bill C-48 as a tiny step along the route of copyright protection. We will see where it goes from here.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2002 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will speak briefly to Bill C-48. The NDP is in favour of the principle of the bill: Owners of copyright should be fairly compensated for their work.

Bill C-48 would be a start toward closing the loopholes in the copyright process that have been created by new technologies. It is the first in a series of copyright bills the departments of industry and heritage will be proposing to modernize our copyright laws as technology and globalization change the environment for creators of copyrighted products.

The list of issues to be tackled over the next few years is enormous. Bill C-48 is a small piece in the copyright puzzle. We must deal with: access issues; ownership of audio-visual works and photographs; database protection; digital issues; government ownership and use of copyrighted works; performers' rights; rights management in an online environment; site signal rights for broadcasters; technology enhancing learning; terms of protection; traditional knowledge and folklore; transitional periods for unpublished works; and Internet retransmission of broadcast programs which is what we are dealing with at present.

This will be an extremely complex and time consuming process. I can assure hon. members that we will all have grey hair if we are sitting in the heritage committee after having gone through each of these areas.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2002 / 3:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to give some more context to Bill C-48, for those who are following and who want to understand the issue.

This bill that we are debating at third reading would establish supplementary regulatory powers so that new distribution systems, specifically the Internet, could retransmit programs if they respect the conditions and provisions of the Copyright Act.

The bill would also allow distribution systems that are already in place, such as satellite and cable companies, to continue to retransmit radio or television programs by paying royalties set by the Copyright Board and by respecting the conditions set out in the Copyright Act.

Are retransmitters subject to the Copyright Act? This was the question the committee worked very hard on.

First, allow me to say that the Bloc Quebecois supports the principle of this bill, knows as Bill C-48. We heard from a number of witnesses in committee who were very concerned about the current legal vacuum, which leaves the door wide open to various different uses of works, authors and artists, without royalties being paid to those who own the rights.

This situation, as it exists today, creates opportunities to abuse the work of artists. In Quebec and in other provinces, there have been protracted battles to protect the works of artists.

Previously, rights were purchased through negotiations between the parties. This situation was in effect until the arrival of iCrave TV, in December 1999, which began broadcasting programs on the Internet. This company gave Internet users direct access to nine Canadian television signals and eight American television signals.

These signals were captured in the Toronto area, converted to an Internet compatible format, then put on the Internet, where they were made available outside of Canada, including in the US.

This situation called into question the various agreements signed by Canada, including the Berne convention and NAFTA. It did not take long for opponents to speak up.

Alleging violation of copyright, numerous groups representing a variety of stakeholders, including the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Disney Enterprises, Paramount Pictures, Time Warner and Universal Studios sued iCrave TV, or threatened to do so.

In February 2000, a U.S. court granted an interim injunction against iCrave TV, prohibiting it from sending signals to the United States. Unfortunately, no Canadian court has had an opportunity to rule on the matter because, in late February, the company gave in to legal pressure and ceased its activities. In return, all charges against it were dropped. It even withdrew its application to the Canadian Copyright Board for a interim retransmission tariff.

Next, a Montreal company, Jump TV, tried to launch a similar service but, unlike its predecessor, it obtained all the necessary legal approvals.

Why did it give up on its plans? Since its applications could not be approved as is, it hoped to pay the same obligatory licence fees as pay-per-view TV, i.e. pay them after broadcasting only, pay a lower percentage for copyright, not be subject to Canadian content, and not contribute to the Canadian Television Fund.

It was in this context that the company dropped its plans as presented in late 2001. It withdrew its application to the copyright board because it had understood that its business plan would not pass muster and that it could therefore not meet all the conditions required of other broadcasting copyright holders.

Apparently, these two cases woke the government up to the fact that it was becoming necessary to provide a framework for this kind of activity.

The basic purpose of the bill is to prevent a potential Internet retransmitter from being able to broadcast programs outside Canada or, if it is broadcasting within Canada, to make it subject to the same rules as broadcasters or cable companies.

We must remember that a large share of the revenues generated by the producers of broadcasts comes from the resale of broadcasting rights abroad. The threat of the Internet is therefore real and could have a considerable negative impact, not just on authors, but also on partners of the distribution network.

In Canada, the CRTC excluded the Internet highway from its jurisdiction in 1999, so that only the Copyright Board can set royalties.

If the law were not amended, authors or their representatives would have to engage in legal battles to get back their share of royalties. The only ones who would get rich on this would be the lawyers and the law firms, not the authors.

If the regime that applied had been compulsory licensing, what would the consequences have been for stakeholders? Bill C-48 set out a compulsory licensing system for retransmitters.

That said, section 31 did not include any definition. Instead, the conditions set out in the regulations would have been what established certain mechanisms for this compulsory licensing, which I could explain as follows: the communication was to consist in retransmission of a local or distant signal, which allowed Canadian broadcasters to charge a worthwhile rate for commercial rights to their programs, one that was beneficial for both themselves and the authors.

There was also the fact that retransmission had to be legal under the Broadcasting Act, for if it were excluded from the provisions adopted by the CRTC, how could they be asked to participate in the broadcasting system, if none of the regulations applied?

The signal was to be retransmitted simultaneously and in its entirety. If it is not, transmitters could, for example, end up with a broadcast sponsored by Yoplait yoghurt, that is suddenly replaced by messages from Danone.

In the case of retransmission of a distant signal—

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2002 / 3 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely delighted to rise today to speak on the third reading of Bill C-48. This is a piece of legislation that went to committee, was amended at report stage and received unanimous support from all parties of the House. We are delighted to be here today at third reading. It also shows, as my dear colleague, the vice-chair, the hon. member for Toronto--Danforth, has always said, that we as parliamentarians need to have impact on public policy.

Very quickly I want to tell the House why some amendments were made, why they were the right amendments and why we are pleased to have them supported today by both the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Industry.

Section 31 of the Copyright Act is what Bill C-48 deals with. This is about a compulsory retransmission licence. Some people might wonder what that means and why it is important. It addresses whether or not Internet transmitters should be allowed to retransmit and rebroadcast over the air radio and television signals without properly compensating the rights holders.

The legislation that was proposed was originally enabling legislation which would lead the determination of whether there should be an exemption or whether the Internet provider should have a compulsory licence exemption as well. We as a committee decided that it was very important to put a new media exemption in the legislation. We agreed to that for many reasons. We think it is the right thing to do. It brings into balance all the rights holders and the broadcasters. It addresses those rights. It addresses concerns of the Americans. We feel that the committee as a whole has made good public policy by currently putting this media exemption into the act.

Having said that, let me say that both ministers also advised the committee that they would ask the CRTC to reconsider its 1999 new media exemption. The CRTC will continue to do that and will report back to the committee, at which time both ministers have agreed that should draft regulations and conditions be brought forward so that if Internet retransmitters such as Jump TV, or iCraveTV in the United States, want to qualify, we would be able to do so.

With this legislation today, I think we have shown how all the members of a committee can work together for the benefit of good public policy. I want to thank the chair, the vice-chair and all the members of the committee for their hard work. I want to thank the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage for their support and for listening to the committee. I know that we will continue to work together as regulations go and as the CRTC reviews its exemption order. Should we one day find that we do allow Internet retransmitters to have the benefit of a licence, I look forward to doing so, but after we as a government have looked at those regulations.

Once again I am delighted to be able thank all members of the committee for their great work. We look forward to passing the legislation immediately.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2002 / 3 p.m.
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Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

moved that Bill C-48, an act to amend the Copyright Act, be read the third time and passed.

Business of the HousePoints of Order

June 18th, 2002 / 3 p.m.
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Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation among all parties in the House. I hope representatives of all parties are listening to this. I move:

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice, Bill C-48, an act to amend the Copyright Act, be deemed to have been concurred in at report stage, and that the House shall proceed forthwith to consideration of the third reading stage of the said bill, which shall be disposed of after no more than one speaker from each recognized party has spoken in debate thereon.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

June 18th, 2002 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Pursuant to its order of reference dated Friday, February 22, your committee has considered Bill C-48, an act to amend the Copyright Act, and agreed on Monday, June 17 to report it with amendment.

First Nations Governance ActGovernment Orders

June 17th, 2002 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to be on the record on this bill for a few moments because in my parliamentary career some of the happiest moments I have had have been working with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and working with my friends the Cree when the minister of the western Arctic and I spent time in 1990 in the northern part of James Bay. Recently we held our first summit on water at the Mohawk Reserve in Wahta the Parry Sound-Muskoka region. Also, my seatmate for many years from Kenora--Rainy River was elevated to the status of Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

When we are in the House for many years, we learn to know the members of parliaments, their ridings, backgrounds and passions. I have grown over the years to know that the minister responsible for the file has deep roots within the first nations community. As many members probably know, and the public and the media should know, there are over 60 different bands in the riding of Kenora--Rainy River. Therefore the minister brings to this file an extraordinary amount of knowledge and experience in dealing with first nations.

In fact, the Prime Minister has, as a major part of his legacy, a special relationship with first nations. I find the idea that legislation would come before this House that would be insensitive and not deal with first nations in a way that is proper strange. After what I had seen happen in the media over the last few days, I decided to speak to Chief Matthew Coon Come. Lo and behold some real genuine tension exists on this file.

Thank goodness in the last few days the Prime Minister said that this bill would go to committee and that there would be amendments to it before second reading. The minister said that earlier today. It is very important we understand, Canadians understand and all first nations people understand that the bill in its current form will not stay the same if everything we hear from first nations people is listened to when they appear before the committee.

Rather than creating an environment where a tension and a gap develops, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that both parliamentarians and the leadership and friends in first nations understand that there is a real genuine opportunity here to ensure that this bill is put into a form that can work.

A member asked a very good question? Why do we not wait until the fall to deal with the bill? The reaction and the exercise we have experienced in the House in the last few days, where members of the opposition have been very constructive and creative in their ideas, will press the nerve of the entire system in a constructive way so that when we do go to committee before second reading I think there will be a much higher level of attentiveness. As well, I think the level of listening will be a lot greater.

This happens on many bills in this House, especially in the last few weeks. We all know that over the last few years there has been a pendulum toward devolving the governing of this country to unelected officials. Most of us are coming to a realization that our roles here are becoming diminished as every week passes. I believe that pendulum has hit the wall.

I have noticed in committees in the last few weeks that more and more parliamentarians from all sides have been creative and constructive, and major portions of bills have been altered. On Bill C-48, the copyright act, a few minutes ago a recommendation by the Canadian Alliance to have it carved out on Internet retransmission was unanimously accepted by all parties. That went against the entire will of the public service. I have seen that happen more and more. I think this bill will go through the same experience.

It is very important to understand that when legislation like this comes to the House, it does not come here to make things to be worse for people, its intent is to make the lives of first nations better.

When we read the title of the bill, the first nations governance act and the purposes of it are very noble and constructive. However the reality is that the process in getting to that point is not going to be supported by some of those leaders in first nations who we all respect. We also realize that there are many in the first nations community who do like the bill. However the exercise of examining the bill in a totally open, constructive way will happen and any attempts to create a situation where we will be closed minded is not really accurate. That is what I leave with the House.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

June 13th, 2002 / 3:05 p.m.
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Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I understand that many members would have suggestions about the government business over the next few days. However, in the absence of hearing all that, I will inform the House of the following.

We will continue this afternoon tomorrow with the following: Bill C-53, the pesticide legislation, to be followed by Bill C-58, the Canada pension plan investment board bill and any time remaining on Bill C-55, the public safety bill.

On Monday we will begin with a motion by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to refer to committee before second reading the bill on first nations governance that he will introducing tomorrow, notice of which is already on the order paper. We would then turn to report stage and third reading of Bill C-54, respecting sports. We would then turn to the specific claims bill introduced earlier today and any business left from this week, that is the bills I named a moment ago.

We would also like to debate report stage and third reading hopefully of Bill C-48, the copyright legislation and, subject to some progress, I would also like to resume consideration at second reading of Bill C-57, the nuclear safety bill.

In addition, it would be the wish of the government to dispose of the motion to establish a special joint committee to review proposals made concerning the code of conduct for parliamentarians.

This is the list of legislation that I would like to see completed over the next several days.

Species at Risk ActGovernment Orders

June 10th, 2002 / 6:25 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will restate clearly and unequivocally that the Canadian Alliance is committed to protecting and preserving Canada's natural environment and endangered species.

As I have said in the House many times, my wife and I lived by a lake in the Rocky Mountains where we brought up a wonderful family of three children. We are completely committed to the natural environment. We are committed to endangered species at a personal level. That is also the position of our party.

However the process has been highly frustrating. This is the third incarnation of the species at risk act. In every process, this one included, we have heard legitimate and intelligent input from stakeholders and experts who are deeply concerned about the issues and have brought their concerns to committee. In every instance the environment minister of the day has turned back their common sense proposals. On May 2 the hon. member for Sarnia--Lambton was quoted in the London Free Press as saying:

Of course there is (frustration) with the system...Why do committees exist? It's to be a counterbalance, and it's fundamentally flawed, wrong and improper when the work of a committee can be undone by a minister at his own whim.

I agree with the Liberal member completely. Another Liberal, the hon. member for Thunder Bay--Superior North, is quoted in the same article. He stated:

We all go through the process at times at the committee level of getting the recommendation put in and the minister's department doesn't see fit to include them and, yeah, there's always that frustration.

There is a tad of frustration, and not just on this side of the House. A May 2 Ottawa Citizen article stated:

Environmental groups and certain MPs were focusing their efforts yesterday on winning one last concession from the government before the bill comes to a vote. They want the bill to guarantee the protection of the critical habitat of endangered species on federal land.

The Citizen article quoted the hon. member for York North who has been involved with these issues for a long time. She said:

I think it's important that we find a bill that protects habitat for species...I believe that we're moving towards a resolution of that issue and I'm looking forward to seeing that in the bill.

Interestingly, the same article quoted the environment minister who was asked if he would agree to such a change. He gave a two letter, one word answer: “No”, he would not change. What has changed between then and now? What has changed with the people involved in the issue such as the hon. members I mentioned, the hon. member for Davenport and others? Liberal backbenchers have succumbed to the pressure of the government and will permit this badly flawed piece of legislation to go through.

The Canadian Alliance is committed to protecting and preserving Canada's natural environment and endangered species. However Bill C-5 would not do that. It would not even come close. Why is that? There are many flaws in the bill but one primary flaw: It would not work without guaranteeing fair and reasonable compensation for property owners and resource users who suffer losses. Farmers, ranchers and other property owners want to protect endangered species but should not be forced to do so at the expense of their own livelihoods.

The government wants to amend Bill C-5 to reverse many of the positions taken by its own MPs on the environment committee. It is another example of top down control from the Prime Minister's office. It again shows the contempt in which the government holds members of parliament.

As I stated at the outset, in all instances there has been input by interested parties. One of the most interesting was the Species at Risk Working Group otherwise known by the acronym SARWG. The group issued a joint statement of principle. The statement was so good, profound and sound it could have been used as a foundation for any good species at risk act. Instead this diverse group had its interventions fundamentally ignored.

Landowners, land users and rural residents whom I represent would bear the brunt of the species at risk act. Motion No. 109 would eliminate the requirement to develop regulations for compensation. Compensation is not an extra. It is essential to the entire framework of protecting endangered species. For instruction on the issue we should look to countries with legislation that does provide adequate protection for landowners, which ensures that they and other land users are encouraged rather than penalized for looking after species at risk.

Compensation would not only ensure landowners and resource users did not single-handedly bear all the costs of protecting species. It would send an important symbolic message that the government understood their fears and recognized the need to take their interests into account.

The government will not even commit to developing a regulatory framework. Consistently in the House we are faced with skeleton laws made by the Liberal government, laws that have only the basic outline of what is expected. The regulations, the meat on the bones, are turned over to the bureaucracy and are completely out of the control of the people elected to this place to represent their constituents and the people of Canada.

The minister says he hopes to have draft general regulations ready for public review and comment soon after royal assent. That is not good enough by a long shot. How helpful is that? It should be available now for the House to debate. The minister acts as if providing a few regulatory scraps is evidence of his gracious benevolence. After all, it is not required. He can do it if he feels like it.

This is exactly like a bill we are considering in the heritage committee. Bill C-48 has to do with copyright. It too is nothing more than a skeleton law. We do not know what the regulations will be. The Minister of Industry and the Minister of Canadian Heritage wrote letters to the committee telling it to pass it as is. They told the committee to get the bill through so it could be enacted. They said once it was enacted the government would come back to committee sometime in the next year with the regulations. That is not good enough. Bill C-10, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act which has just passed the Senate, is exactly the same thing. It is also a skeleton bill.

We are charged not only by our constituents but by all the people of Canada with responsibility for bringing forward good laws and legislation that people understand and that we can vote for intelligently. However in Bill C-5 there are again no regulations. There is no meat on the bones. The way the Liberals consistently deal with legislation is unacceptable. It holds the entire institution of the House of Commons in contempt. Government Motion No. 109 would weaken the law. Subclause 64(2) of Bill C-5 currently reads:

The Governor in Council shall--

Shall is the important word.

--make regulations that the Governor in Council considers necessary for carrying out the purposes and provisions of subsection (1), including regulations--

What did the government do? Did it strengthen the wording? There is no way to strengthen the word shall so the government changed it to may. The government said it might get around to it. It does not care if it weakens the law.

I appeal to the hon. member for Davenport and the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis, for whom I have tremendously high personal regard, to take another look at the bill in good conscience. They should realize it would not protect endangered species, something I know they want as much as I do.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

June 6th, 2002 / 3:05 p.m.
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Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not usually comment on the content of question period. We all have our own views of how good or bad they were. I will instead refer to the government's legislative program.

This afternoon and this evening we will consider the business of supply with the opposed motions and so on. That takes place as it does normally, with the later completion of the appropriations bill.

Tomorrow we will do the following business. I would like to first call Bill C-53, the pest control bill, at report stage. Once that is completed we will then call Bill C-55, the public safety legislation. I believe those two bills should complete the day tomorrow.

Next Monday it is my intention to call the report stage of Bill C-5 and third reading of Bill C-5 on Tuesday.

On Wednesday of next week and/or after the completion of Bill C-5, I would then call Bill S-41 respecting legislative language. We will consider at that point an address to Her Majesty concerning the jubilee.

Once that is completed, and in the event the House wants to continue with other business, the bills I would call next Tuesday, subject of course to consultation between House leaders, would probably be the following: Bill C-19, the environmental protection legislation; Bill C-48, the copyright bill; and possibly Bill C-54, the sports bill which I understand should be out of committee sometime within the next short while.

That is the business I propose to call after we complete the address to Her Majesty that I described.

I also intend to consult with opposition House leaders to see if it is still their wish to hold the take note debate next Wednesday on the future of Canada's health care system.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

May 23rd, 2002 / 3:05 p.m.
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Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we shall continue this afternoon with the debate on the opposition motion. Tomorrow, we will return to Bill C-56, respecting reproductive technologies, followed by Bill C-55, the public safety bill, and Bill C-15B, the criminal code amendments. On Monday, we will continue consideration of these bills.

Tuesday will be an allotted day. In the evening on Tuesday, as the House already knows, we will sit in committee of the whole pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a) to consider the estimates of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

On Wednesday, if necessary, we will return to any of the bills I have previously mentioned that may not already been completed, subject to arrangements we may make to deal with the Senate amendments to Bill C-23, the competition legislation, Bill S-34, dealing with royal assent, and perhaps Bill C-5 concerning species at risk. We are also hopeful that Bill C-54, the sports bill, and Bill C-53, the pest control bill, will be reported from committee in the very near future, so that we may take up report stage and third reading of those particular items.

Finally, we are also looking forward to reports from committees of the House on two other bills that have been in committee for what would appear to be an inordinate length of time, namely, Bill C-48 dealing with copyright, which has been before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for more than three months now, and Bill C-19, the amendments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which is fast approaching its first anniversary before the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. I am sure the House is anxiously awaiting the reports of those committees so that legislation can be proceeded with through its final stages.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

February 22nd, 2002 / 1:30 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Madam Speaker, I do not have a problem with wrapping up the debate on this issue.

As I was saying, we do have some concerns with the bill in terms of regulations. Time and time again we see the notion of regulations that will be developed after the fact and we do not always get a chance to see them at committee.

My colleague from Fundy--Royal pointed out to me that it is similar to the situation that has gone on with the species at risk bill and many other bills in this place. This actually came up in private members' business yesterday with the motion we debated in terms of parliamentary reform. We need to look at and streamline our procedures. One of them has to do with the whole area of regulations. The government takes this route to define after the fact through regulations what will actually be the intent of the legislation. I and, I believe, my colleagues in the coalition share those concerns as well.

The legislation continues to protect the interests of those who are currently defined as retransmitters under section 31, including cable and satellite providers in Canada and the United States. The bill will amend that definition so that new entrants, such as Internet based retransmitters and any other currently unforeseen technology based retransmitters, will be able to qualify for the compulsory redistribution licence. As I said earlier, the bill does not define the qualifying conditions that the Internet based distribution systems will need to meet in order to receive the compulsory licence. These conditions will be required in order to rebroadcast programs but will be defined at a later date through regulations which I addressed earlier.

I want to talk about some of the comments the minister made. I appreciate that the minister was here to deliver a speech. I did have some questions for her which I did not get a chance to ask openly in the House, but I think they are questions she would be more than willing to answer perhaps in another format. I will put them on the record for her.

One of them is that the bill has been designed to address a loophole in the Copyright Act. Another loophole currently exists in terms of broadcasting. It has to do with what is called the grey market and the black market in satellite transmissions that originate in the United States and which are received here in Canada by individuals, many of them living close to the United States. A vast number of our people live close to the Canada-U.S. border. Individuals are able to buy satellite technology here in Canada to receive the beams being sent from the United States.

The same bypassing that the bill addresses in terms of Internet rebroadcasting is happening with Canadian content over foreign signals received in Canada that are basically unauthorized. Our playwrights, our producers and the people who work in the industry, and as the minister outlined, I think she said that there are 130,000 or so, are not getting their due.

I would ask the minister if she would endeavour, in the same way that she has moved forward on the bill, to move forward quickly to close this other loophole as well. All the arguments that she made in her speech, and I agree with most of them, are arguments that can be made in terms of this other loophole having to do with the satellite transmissions that originate from the United States and which are received in an unauthorized manner here in Canada.

I might add that individuals in Canada who have this technology are mainly doing so under the assumption that it is legal and proper because of the way these products are being distributed. We need to address that and see if we can get a similar resolution to that as this bill attempts to address.

I asked the minister this question once in committee and she did respond to it. This has more to do with the Broadcasting Act and it is the issue of foreign ownership. I asked her whether the government would be willing to consider a review at least of our foreign ownership policy so that our Canadian broadcasters could compete, not only head to head with each other here in Canada but also internationally. I think we have seen more and more competition arising, but they are not only competing with broadcasters in Canada but with a very large market south of us in the United States. In order to compete globally they need access to capital. They need the ability to compete. It is certainly something that needs to be addressed.

The heritage committee has been studying the Broadcasting Act and many individuals have provided us with briefs and opinions. This has been a worthwhile process. All parties are working co-operatively in committee, as often happens. However, the disappointing part of working co-operatively in committee is that over and over again at the end when the report is finished, the government either changes the recommendations or puts them on the shelf. Members of the heritage committee hope that will not happen with the Broadcasting Act review which we are undertaking. We hope the government will seriously consider the proposals being made.

I have wavered a bit from Bill C-48, but we are generally supportive of the bill. We urge the minister to move forward in a similar fashion to address the grey market and black market areas of satellite broadcasting as well. We look forward to seeing the regulations. We look forward to dealing with the bill when it gets to committee and to solve the problem hopefully sooner rather than later.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

February 22nd, 2002 / 1:25 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to also join in the debate on this important bill. I want to commend my colleagues for their speeches as well.

We know that our colleague who just spoke is a well known playwright in Canada and we applaud her contributions in that area. She brings a unique perspective to the heritage committee and always has a lot of valuable comments to make on these topics.

In fact, Bill C-48, an act to amend the Copyright Act, in many ways would have applications to the producers and the writers of Canadian content. It is important that we close the loophole that allows rebroadcasting, through Internet technologies, of Canadian content in a way that was never designed to happen. That is why those of us in the coalition are generally supportive of Bill C-48 because it addresses a problem that has come about mainly because of the development of technology in this area.

We also share some of the concerns that have been addressed by colleagues from the Alliance and from the Bloc in terms of regulations. We see quite often that--

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

February 22nd, 2002 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to debate Bill C-48. I want to make some comments on the notion of copyright and intellectual property in general, and Internet retransmission in particular.

I will start off by admitting that I have a personal bias to this topic because I write plays. I receive copyright royalties for my plays. Do not get me wrong; my royalties do not make me rich or in any way compensate me for the hundreds and thousands of hours that it actually takes to create a play. However I do know something about the reality of a royalty.

Therefore I ask my parliamentary colleagues to always remember who we are really talking about when we talk about copyright. We are talking about creators, the Canadians who write, paint, compose and choreograph and who tend to be quite frankly very poor.

The Canada Council says that most make a lot less than $20,000 a year and this includes royalty payments. I feel it is safe to say that the money given to creators for their work is almost always inadequate, but the point I want to make is that our approach to copyright should not be simply a question of money. It really is about much more than money. It should be about recognizing creation.

I know that some will not see it this way. I know for example that the Canadian Association of Broadcasters believes strongly that we must have strict copyright laws to protect the property of its members because to them the copyright is intellectual property, like an electronic mortgage that they should have a lien on or a televised mineral right that they are waiting to strip mine.

I know that many believe and have graphs and numbers to show that the western economies excel because of our recognition of intellectual property. However the so-called knowledge economy seems to fail to recognize that knowledge is simply borrowed creation. Without the creator there is no intellectual property.

If we simply follow the definitions provided by intellectual property treaties, they believe that our patent and copyright laws should always equate the act of writing poetry with the act of protecting the international patent for prozac.

I hope that groups like the Media Content Coalition will understand that strict copyright approaches to copyright reform will not always work. Our current law understands this. We already have exemptions for copyright, law relating to churches, educational institutions and persons with disabilities, but the exceptions are very small and restrictive. Churches can use music without paying royalties as long as there is no gain involved.

An individual can use any copyrighted work for research, private study, criticism, news reporting or reviewing as a fair dealing but the source must always be mentioned.

An educational institution can use a mechanical copy of a copyrighted work for display for testing, examination or translation on its premises for instructional purposes.

Creators are compensated through a government program to allow their works to be freely available through our library system. These flexible approaches are ones that creators want, and I hope the corporate copyright community will agree with the flexible approach to the law.

One unique thing about copyright is what is called the moral right. This is one place established in law where the power of the creator still shines and it shows how different a copyright is from a patent, the physical kind of intellectual property.

While the copyright can be assigned or sold by the creator, the moral right is the creator's right to be associated with the creation and the right to the integrity of the work. This right is always kept by the author or creator or his or her estate. Maintaining integrity means keeping their work from being distorted, mutilated or otherwise modified or used in association with a product, service, cause or institution. Otherwise, no one can use their creation for profit with or without their permission.

In a real way, Bill C-48 tries to address the same principle. The Internet provides a new way to communicate, to research, to entertain and to conduct business, but the technology has also created the ability to take, in effect steal, someone's creation and show it on the Internet without permission, without paying a royalty and without paying any attention to the creators. In fact they are stealing the creation and devaluing the creator.

After all, the television program was written by someone, acted out by someone and the set was designed by someone. By simply taking the creation and using a technological loophole, sending it out over the Internet and using it to sell advertising it is quite offensive to my creative sensibilities.

Bill C-48 changes section 31 of the Copyright Act to allow this loophole to be plugged.The bill would do this while still recognizing some of the more progressive collective approaches taken in our copyright law.

Despite the efforts of some in the corporate world, we have a collective approach to a lot of our copyright law. We do not track down every teenager and sue them every time they tape a CD or burn a copy of their favourite song. Instead, we have a very small charge on blank tapes and CDs which makes its way back to the creator. Frankly, as the parent of two teenagers, I know that this pragmatic approach is all for the better.

When a cable company captures a television signal and replays it to its subscribers, a compulsory licence is created and the equivalent of a royalty is paid. This is a good, pragmatic alternative to having every small cable carrier negotiate with every broadcaster to send its signal.

What Bill C-48 does is extend this system to the wide open spaces of the Internet. Some have proposed that this not be allowed or have suggested that retransmission only be allowed through a secure channel. However, we have to start down the road of dealing with the legal aspects of content on the worldwide web.

We have a responsibility to deal with the inaccurate impression that the Internet is a lawless place. We know in our hearts that laws do apply to cyberspace. We arrest and prosecute child pornographers who lurk online. We prosecute hatemongers and holocaust deniers who try and hide behind web servers.

The CRTC has backed off on regulating the net, but it is patently obvious that the government now has to deal with the details of regulating the net. If it fails in this challenge, then our cultural sovereignty will eventually disappear.

In conclusion, I believe that it is time we also applied the basic dignity of recognition for creation, which we do through copyright, to the Internet. I eagerly await the next bill in this area from the government as it proceeds with copyright reform.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

February 22nd, 2002 / 1:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

No, they are not. There is also a French language market outside Quebec, but it is even more limited; I am speaking about French language productions as compared to all productions globally. If we increase the number of productions, with the related costs, it has an impact when we want to export in order to recoup the costs. We all know how the Americans do it. When they sell a product outside their own market, their costs have already been absorbed because of the size of their market.

Also, we must strike a balance between protecting artistic creations and encouraging the development of a new type of economic activity which is very important, especially since the opening of borders. Therefore, it is important for that type of economic activity to be better supervised so that we can improve profits and recoup the costs of our artistic productions.

The development of broadcasting on Internet hinges on a clarifying legislation. Internet technologies can enhance the efficiency of businesses and make it possible to develop new value-added services for consumers.

The development of such technologies and services should be fostered but also be very strictly supervised. While supporting the principle of this bill, it is very important to stress that Internet rebroadcasters should have the same obligations as traditional ones.

Actually, it would be unfair to create competition for cable operators while freeing them from the duties imposed to traditional rebroadcasters.

However, questions ought to be raised and I think that we will be able to look into this in committee. In the short and medium term, will Internet rebroadcasters be subject to the same obligations as cable operators and satellite broadcasters? We cannot answer this question. Presently, these questions remain unanswered. Will the new Internet rebroadcasters be forced to provide access to a majority of Canadian stations? Will they contribute to Canadian television development funds? Pursuant to the various regulations that will be tabled and examined in committee, we will be able to see what the scope of the overall bill is.

It should also remind hon. members that section 31 of the Copyright Act was a request from the industry. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters, the Canadian Film and Television Production Association as well as the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association have formed the Media Content Coalition to oversee the use of Canadian television industry by Internet broadcasters.

In order to understand what is in section 31, which will be amended to establish the conditions of licences for the retransmission of works protected from television and radio, it must be said that before 1989, cable networks were not subject to copyright for the retransmission of live signals. Consequently, it was legal for cable companies to retransmit television programs without paying royalties. During the following years, many reports and studies argued that the retransmission of such programs should be subject to copyright. Finally, in 1989, a neutral communication right was created; in other words, the copyright rules would apply to cable operators as well as to Hertzian wave broadcasters.

Section 31 of the Copyright Act was included to comply with section 2006 of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Section 31 provides for a mandatory copyright licence, which allows the retransmission of protected television and radio works live without the consent of the holder of the affected rights, as long as the conditions are met, including the payment of all royalties set in accordance with a schedule established by the Copyright Board. In principle, a copyright confers its holder the exclusive right, among other things, concerning the public broadcasting of his work.

A compulsory licensing system deprives the licensee of this right. In other words, it is a system that functions by exception. It is useful, since it ensures equal treatment of program content for licensees, while preventing broadcasters from having to undertake separate negotiations with individual copyright holders.

The change proposed by Bill C-48, under consideration today, would allow cable, satellite and other broadcasters, including Internet broadcasters, without needing to obtain permission from the copyright holders, to retransmit programs that have already been broadcast. However, they would be required to pay the royalties set out by the Copyright Board and respect the other regulatory conditions.

The crux of the matter is that the regulatory provisions will not be known until the parliamentary committee holds its hearings. A number of issues raised by pressure groups will have to be dealt with in the regulations in order to rally the industry. We will outline the challenges during our speeches in the House when the bill is at third reading.

The interest groups that we met with outlined three clear principles that must be kept in mind and with which we agree. First, broadcasting must be limited to within Canada. Second, we must ensure the integrity of the signal by limiting the use of banner advertising, which would be counter-productive in many respects. Finally, measures must be put in place in order to ensure that the technologies being used will allow for the full protection of the integrity of the signal.

However, changes to the Copyright Act will not solve the entire issue. The problem will not be completely settled. Much more will need to be done in the way the Internet deals with copyright.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage has told us that this bill is ahead of its time, that it responds to the era of new technologies, that it is a modern bill. We know that Australia and the United States already have regulations in place that govern the retransmission of programs using new technologies. In Canada, the CRTC excluded the Internet highway from its jurisdiction in 1999, so that only the Copyright Board can set royalties.

Internet pirating must not occur at the expense of owners and creators. We know that creators are artists, those who speak of the soul of a people, those who stir us. Artists, singers, movie and video makers and playwrights, those are the ones that we are thinking about when we want to protect copyright. We want to do it so they have more decent salaries and their creations are better protected.

Hopefully the government will act with diligence on such an important issue as the survival and protection of our creations.

I think that we have our work cut out for us. The bill before us does not cast the kind of light that we were expecting to be able to support it. Over the next few weeks, we will be studying the regulations related to this bill.

In Quebec, this takes on a particular meaning. The minister paid tribute to the Canadian nation and the Canadian soul. For creators from Quebec, the Quebec soul is just as important to preserve and broadcast to the world. Our creations must be reproduced and rebroadcast in the spirit of the people of Quebec, a spirit of openness.

It has been said that Canadian society was open to the world and accepted diversity. The same goes for Quebec society. The phrase “a Quebec that is open to the world” was used in various ad campaigns aimed at expressing the soul of Quebec.

There are also many cultural communities. They add to Quebec society, which also needs the diversity of these cultural communities to grow richer. We are not at odds with this openness. I wanted to include this thought about the soul of the Quebec people in my speech today to pay tribute to our creators.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

February 22nd, 2002 / 12:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to this somewhat technical bill. I note that the Minister of Canadian Heritage went a bit beyond merely technical considerations. She gave a lovely speech, which was all about Canadian culture.

At the end of my speech, I hope to have the time to remind her about some of the historic memories of the nations which make up this Canada and this Canadian culture which the government is so interested in supporting, to the detriment of another culture, that of Quebec. I know that the Minister of Canadian Heritage cherishes this notion of Canadian nation building, but it is not for Quebecers. What it means is denying the existence of the other culture. I will come back to this later in my speech. I am going to focus on more technical aspects of the bill.

The purpose of the bill before us today is to create new regulatory powers so that new distribution undertakings, particularly the Internet, can retransmit broadcasts if they respect the terms and conditions of the Copyright Act.

The purpose of the Copyright Act is to provide a legal framework entitling the creators of works and other copyright holders to paternity, control, and remuneration for the use of their works. These works can be films, computer programs, information products, novels or songs. This is what the Copyright Act seeks to preserve.

Copyright therefore establishes an economic and moral right for creators and other copyright holders to control the publication and marketing of their works, to protect the integrity of their undertakings, and to receive adequate remuneration.

The protection of copyright is valid for a limited time, that being the lifetime of the author, plus a period of 50 years after their death. This legislation therefore forms the basis for creative undertakings. There must therefore be a balance between the creation and the distribution of works.

Creation must be protected, but access to works continues to be an equally important challenge in an increasingly connected world. We know that the boundaries between markets are blurring. We must therefore make protected works available, with due regard for their level of protection.

With the amendments to the Copyright Act, Internet based retransmitters will have to prove that they do not broadcast beyond the borders of Canada. The survival of creation in Quebec and Canada is at stake. More on this later.

A second point in the bill is that satellite and cable systems will still be allowed to retransmit radio and television programs if they pay royalties to the Copyright Board and comply with the conditions set out in the Copyright Act. Penalties for offenses are already provided for in the act.

To start with, I would like to say that the Bloc Québécois will support the principle of Bill C-48.

For the time being, we cannot give our full and unconditional endorsement to the bill, though we are supportive of the principle of the bill. The Bloc Québécois would first like to see the content of the regulations, which the government will table in committee.

Witnesses who are interested in the issue of copyright protection could certainly give a useful input. They will appear before the committee. This caveat has also been expressed by various stakeholders and witnesses who are involved with the issue of copyright. Witnesses will give us useful information on the type of regulations put forward by the government, which will be examined in the coming weeks.

For this reason, the Bloc Quebecois will be giving its opinion on the bill in general, while we await for the regulations to be clarified in committee.

At first glance, the introduction of this bill is good news, but we will have to wait to see all of the regulations that will be proposed.

Over the months leading up to the introduction of this bill, consultations were held with interested parties, based on a working document on the enforcement of the Copyright Act, with respect to compulsory licensing for Internet rebroadcasting. This public consultation process lasted four months at most. The committee received 40 briefs explaining the issue of rebroadcasting a commercial product in violation of copyright.

This legislation was based on this, as I said, a number of stakeholders pointed out the urgency of this issue.

I would like to briefly highlight about ten of the presentations that were made, in order to shed some light on the issue of why such a bill is studied by the House today.

A number of interest groups came to make clarifications about the problem of rebroadcasting certain programs on the internet, including BCE, CBC, the Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec, the Society for Reproduction Rights for Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada, the Canadian Cable Television Association, the Société des auteurs de radio télévision et cinéma (SARTEC), the Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada and the Fédération nationale des communications .

Representatives of the BCE family illustrated the rifts within the industry:

As a broadband Internet provider through Bell, ExpressVu and Bell-Nexxia, BCE is interested in the expansion of television via Internet. However, the increase in demand for broadband services has broadened its market. Furthermore, it is in the interests of BCE that the federal government adopt a technologically-neutral policy, so that its broadcast subsidiaries may distribute television signals over the Internet. Yet, as owner of CTV, it is also in the interests of BCE that the legislation also protect copyright.

The CBC is not opposed to the expansion of the mandatory licensing system set up under section 31, which I will explain later, to cover rebroadcasting over the Internet.

For its part, CBC demands that:

—any Internet-based retransmitter that wishes to benefit from the advantages of the regime should first submit convincing evidence to the effect that it has the technology required to ensure that its retransmission operation do not go beyond the limits of Canadian territory.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation also demands:

—that a monitoring mechanism be instituted with regard to the above requirements.

—that Internet-based retransmitters be subject to the same requirements as any other CRTC licensee.

—that Section 31 be amended so that advertising banners be considered as affecting the integrity of the signal.

The Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec, the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada all agree in favour of compulsory licensing of Internet-based retransmission. Full copyright must be maintained. This is all the more important as the CRTC has not regulated Internet.

For its part the Canadian Cable Television Association believes that Bill C-48 was not necessary. We know that it has a very different impact on its members. They are keeping their options open when they say we do not need Bill C-48.

According to them, the Copyright Act is meant to be technologically neutral and must remain neutral in its implementation. We can see the kind of interest the Association des câblodistributeurs has for this issue. The government must not pass legislation that might limit the opportunities for cable companies to benefit from the many possibilities offered by convergence.

As for the Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma, SARTEC, it has a different opinion. It is against compulsory licensing of Internet-based retransmission.

Exempting Internet-based retransmitters from compulsory licensing does not amount to rejecting a new technology in favour of older ones. It is taking into account everybody's contribution to our broadcasting system.

Requiring compulsory licensing for Internet-based retransmission would unduly benefit third parties who do not contribute to the broadcasting system, do not fund TV production and are not subject to the CRTC regulatory framework, and therefore have no obligation to retransmit a given signal.

As we can see, there are diverging interests. The Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec is of the opinion that a compulsory copyright licensing regime for the retransmission of works through Internet should not be considered within the current Canadian regulatory framework.

In their view, a review of the current regulations was necessary.

As for the Society of Composers and Authors, several holders of copyrights suggested an amendment which would clearly indicate that local or distant signals may not be legally retransmitted over the Internet according to section 31 of the Copyright Act which deals with retransmission. This again supports the argument that Bill C-48 protects creators.

The Fédération nationale des communications said the following:

Radio and TV stations which have acquired broadcast rights and a broadcast licence must be the only ones able to decide whether their broadcasts are to be retransmitted on the internet or by means other than hertzian waves, cable or satellite.

The recent creation of Jump TV, moreover, raises major concerns in the broadcast industry, and does not allow us to conclude with any certainty that we will, once again, be able to block this retransmission of TV programming on the Internet, particularly because of the provisions of the Copyright Act.

Obviously, there are several interests, perhaps opposing interests, but we can see why the Association des câblodistributeurs has certain reservations concerning application of a regulation concerning retransmission of signals on the internet, and why protecting the rights of artists is more or less their primary objective.

Initially, and this is self-evident, it is important for the new copyright legislation to be adapted to the reality of new technologies. This is justified. For the past ten years there has been total upheaval in the field of communications, with the advent of the internet and digital broadcasting.

Second, I would like to point out how vital it is for us to legislate to protect outside markets. We know what goes on within Canada, but our creators also have to be protected elsewhere.

As hon. members are no doubt aware, the income of program producers is based on the logic of geographical markets. If a program such as La Petite vie could be retransmitted, and redistributed over the net, to anywhere in the world, the people involved with the program would lose significant revenue, without the ability to market their products in other countries.

This is reason enough for us to be concerned about the survival of artistic creation in Quebec and Canada. We know our market is already very limited. Therefore, if Internet broadcasts programs without any royalties being paid to authors or owners of copyrights, the survival of the cultural market will be at risk.

This is an important issue for the industry in Quebec and Canada because that industry relies on foreign markets to recoup the costs of large productions which cannot be profitable with only our limited local market. This is why I say that, in Quebec, protecting creation is synonym of protecting the francophone content.

Most of the artistic creation in Quebec is in French, and it must also be protected. Some markets are looking for French language productions. Our market is even smaller than the English speaking market because of sheer figures. It is all a question of balance and percentages.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

February 22nd, 2002 / 12:45 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak on the Copyright Act, Bill C-48, at second reading. Since we will be supporting the bill at second reading, I will keep my comments brief and to the bill.

First let me say that I do have a bit of personal interest in copyright because, as some may know, in my younger years I wandered around the country with a guitar making my living writing and playing music so it is something that is dear to me.

Before commenting on Bill C-48 I would like to read into the record the summary provided as part of the package announcing the bill, which states:

This enactment amends the Copyright Act to provide that retransmitters who currently benefit from the compulsory licence regime provided for by section 31 (such as cable distribution undertakings and direct-to-home satellite distribution undertakings) will continue to do so, while allowing other retransmitters who meet the conditions prescribed by regulation to also benefit from that regime.

On December 12, 2001, in a Government of Canada news release, the heritage minister is quoted as saying that:

--this bill will strengthen Canada's already vibrant broadcasting system and protect the rights of Canadian content creators. It will provide much needed clarity.

There is an expression, “there is more to this than meets the eye”. Unfortunately in this case there is far less to this than meets the eye.

The purpose of Bill C-48 is to amend the Copyright Act, which was originally amended under Bill C-32 in 1996. At that time, due to pressure exerted on the committee by the current heritage minister, there were at least two significant deficiencies in the resulting legislation. Furthermore, due to interdepartmental rivalry between the two responsible ministries, heritage and industry, and to a certain extent the personal rivalry between the ministers of the day, the revisions to the Copyright Act in 1996 yielded some questionable results. Those rivalries between ministries and ministers continued into December 2001 and the lack of agreement is reflected in the bill.

Canadian content creators and the broadcast industry deserve better. It is their property and their intellectual property that is being stolen by certain distribution systems and cable and satellite providers. Creators should be covered by copyright provisions. In addition, the industry should have the property for which they have paid good money protected.

It is for this reason that the official opposition will be voting in favour of Bill C-48. We believe in the principle of protection of property rights. However, the heritage minister's statement that the bill will provide clarity could most charitably be described as an exaggeration.

Clause 2, or proposed subsection 31(1) of the Copyright Act, defines retransmitter. In this clause it was anticipated that we would have a specific definition of a retransmitter but let us read the clause:

Paragraph 2(1) (b) states that a retransmitter is:

a person who retransmits a signal and meets the qualifying conditions referred in to in paragraph (3)(b)--

Let us look at paragraph (3)(b), which states:

The Governor in Council may make regulations

(b) prescribing qualifying conditions for the purpose of paragraph (b) of the definition “retransmitter” in subsection (1);--

Before everybody's eyes begin to roll, let me describe the net effect of these two clauses. The effect is to set up the governor in council, which is the cabinet working to the recommendations of the heritage and industry departments, to come out with regulations at some time in the future. The problem is that the Liberal government consistently falls back to creating simple enabling legislation in parliament so that the cabinet, armed with recommendations from the bureaucracy, can enact whatever the bureaucracy thinks is best at some future date.

This creates a situation of removing the decision making process from parliament. We are elected as members of parliament to come here to make decisions, not to create enabling legislation so that bureaucrats can do what they want when they want.

It can be argued that creating precise legislation means that as the technology changes the bureaucrats will have to regularly return to parliament. Therefore, with Bill C-48 functioning as enabling legislation rather than precise legislation, the bureaucrats can be flexible.

While this has a certain intellectual appeal, the result is nonetheless the same. The government is dealing duly elected members of parliament out of the process. A classic example of this situation exists in the previous copyright legislation, Bill C-32. A provision was made for a levy on blank tapes. The levy came into effect on blank tapes with the passing of the legislation. However, regulations were then put forward to the copyright review board.

Since the passing of the original legislation, the board has determined that this levy will apply not only to blank tapes but to blank CD recording medium and it likely eventually will apply to blank DVDs. Furthermore, the original levy has increased considerably based on the submissions to the copyright board by the creators, so the effect is that the parliamentary process and the representatives duly elected by the people have been sidelined by the government. Furthermore, the board is at liberty to continue expanding the mediums to which this levy will apply as well as being free to increase the levy itself.

While the creators, using the revenue base collected from these provisions, can prepare representations to the Copyright Board, directly influencing their decisions, the individual consumer who is impacted by these extra charges could not possibly afford either the time or the money required to develop proper presentation.

In order for the official opposition to vote in favour of Bill C-48 when it leaves committee, we will require one of two things: an amendment that adds to the specific definition of retransmitter, one that will act in a way to protect the property and the intellectual property rights of the creators and the broadcast industry, or at a minimum, the tabling of detailed regulatory information by the heritage and industry departments.

We want to support the bill because we believe in property rights protection. We look forward to either of those two avenues being undertaken by either the government or the departments concerned. Parliamentarians must be returned to their rightful place in the legislative process.

Copyright ActGovernment Orders

February 22nd, 2002 / 12:30 p.m.
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Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

moved that Bill C-48, an act to amend the Copyright Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, in technical terms Bill C-48 is about setting modern rules for the retransmission of broadcast signals. In real terms however, the bill is much more than that.

It is about empowering our Canadian artists and children, and telling Canadian stories. It is about keeping Canada on the cutting edge of communications technology. It is about a strong Canadian economy and good Canadian jobs. The bill would strengthen our already vibrant broadcast system and protect the rights of Canadian content creators.

More than 640,000 Canadians make their living from culture. That sector contributes $22 billion to Canada's gross domestic product. We are very proud of 26,000 actors, 3,600 directors, and 2,000 screenwriters. There are more than 14,000 films and videos made in Canada each year. The film and television industry alone generates 134,000 jobs for Canadians: knowledge based jobs, high paying jobs, creative jobs, fun jobs, union jobs, and people jobs.

Canadian film and television production has grown at a staggering rate of 12% per year and represents $4.4 billion annually. The legislation is about ensuring that those jobs and production numbers keep growing. It is about ensuring that royalties are paid to creators whenever their films or song videos are broadcast, no matter what the medium.

For the most part Canadians rely upon television and radio for access to culture, information and entertainment. Thanks to recent developments Canadians are now able to communicate more easily with each other and with the world. We have high speed cable, direct to home satellite television, digital radio and multi-point wireless. Every year new communications technologies are breaking through the world, including my BlackBerry. That is Canadian technology at its finest of which we are very proud.

Of course there is the Internet. The Internet provides an ideal place to tell the world about our country, people and cultures. The Internet allows our children new opportunities to gain access to Canadian stories and voices. It opens up new worlds for Canadian talent and culture.

I am proud that Canada is the first country to have a virtual museums link that will include all of Canada's museums by 2005. During the virtual museum's first eight months, it had 20 million hits from visitors in more than 100 different countries. Thus, it is not only connecting Canadians; it is also our voice to the world.

We should relish those new technologies because they can help us to share our stories. They provide for the kind of cultural diversity and access to Canadian culture that has alluded too many minorities in the country for too long. They help connect Canadians to their heritage and their future.

What is important in this new environment is that we have rules to ensure our artists, singers, filmmakers, creators, playwrights and young video geniuses receive fair payment when their work is used. It is only fair that an Internet service that retransmits broadcast signals should be required to operate on the same basis as the cable provider.

This is an important public policy issue. If our filmmakers do not get paid for their work it is very hard for them to keep telling their stories. If our musicians are not paid for their creations, in the short term we would have cheap music and in the long term we would have few artists.

Royalties are exceptionally important in encouraging the creation and marketing of the widest possible range of Canadian voices. We need rules that are fair, clear and transparent. We need rules that encourage the creation of Canadian culture and access to that culture.

I am proud that Canada has always been on the cutting edge of new technologies. We need only think of the first great communicator of the 20th century, Marshall McLuhan, who predicted back in the 1960s that “the medium is the message”. Living as he did in a country spanning six time zones, with two official languages and over 100 languages from every corner of the globe, he understood that the ability to tell stories, to make connections, to truly respect cultural diversity in telling our stories, is what will put individuals and the country on the leading edge in the 21st century.

For generations we have put in place policies that maximize the benefits of technology to tell our stories.

We were one of the first to have a public broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation—Radio Canada, which started with radio some 60 years ago and added television some 50 years ago. Its creation truly filled a void for the telling of our stories.

We broke new ground with the CRTC and Canadian content rules that allowed artists to have a trampoline for the expression of their music.

From the days of Alexander Graham Bell Canadians have always been leaders in finding new ways to help people communicate with one another. In a country that passes six time zones we owe that to our citizens, not only for them to talk, grow and appreciate their own unique regions but that they can also interconnect with each other.

This legislation would be one more step along the path of support for the creation of stories and interconnection of those stories. It would be one more step in putting Canada at the forefront of the knowledge based economy, and would promote the work of our creators, artists, cultural professionals and technicians.

Another step forward has captivated all the human and economic potential of our culture. I would like to mention that the audiovisual field accounts for more than 134,000 direct jobs in Canada. This represents the largest growth in all employment fields over the last five years. These are jobs in Canada that get people to stay in Canada.

When I visited the riding of my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, he showed me what impact the movie Black Robe had on the local economy and how the kingdom of Saguenay was the jewel that allowed people in his region to express their culture. But is not only a matter of being able to be heard and to express ourselves, it also has economic benefits.

In the past few years we have doubled the annual number of Canadian television productions thanks to the Canada television fund and a government with a vision that does not create the stories but gives artists the means of expression.

We have undertaken the most important revision in copyright law of the last seven decades. I have to say to those members who will be joining us in Newfoundland for the Junos next April that there are hundreds of musicians across the country who are now receiving direct royalties because of a vision of a revised copyright law.

We have introduced new initiatives in support of book publishing, sound recording, multimedia, cultural exports, periodicals, cultural tourism, the performing arts and our training programs for young artists. We have just created the new Canada feature film fund which would reward success and encourage the creation of new Canadian films for mass audiences. Bill C-48 is one more piece in that puzzle.

The bill would provide clarity and predictability to the retransmission marketplace. It would remove the uncertainty that plagued rights holders and retransmitters over the last number of years. It would maintain and strengthen the protection afforded rights holders, protections which would be undermined without the legislation.

This forward looking law would modernize Canadian copyright law by ensuring that the licence could be rapidly and flexibly adapted to unforeseeable technological change. It would ensure that never again would a change in the method of transmission put rights holders at risk. That is the key to a sound public policy, not to create the art but to support the stories.

We must celebrate and promote the diversity of our cultures, our opinions and our perspectives, which make Canada a rich country on every front, a great country in which to live.

More than ever, Canadians must have a broadcasting system that is a true reflection of who they are and what they feel.

Now, more than ever, it is important to deepen connections between Canadians and each other, between Canadians and our communities and between Canadians and the world. We do that through our creative people and our culture, telling our stories, preserving our heritage, reminding us of our values and reflecting our hopes and aspirations.

I am very pro-Canadian. I underscore the fact that being pro-Canadian does not make me anti-American. I made a statement earlier this week which was interpreted by certain individuals to assume that I was speaking against our neighbour to the south. I was not speaking against our neighbour to the south. I was speaking in favour of a system where a country reflects its diversity in respect of differences.

We have a constitutional monarchy that is unique and cherished, linked to our past, and it is also a way of connecting with more than 40 countries around the globe.

We are part of the Francophonie. We have a direct connection with over 50 countries. That is what makes Canada's diversity. It is not that we want to be against anyone. We want to be in favour of a country that, right from the start—there were difficult periods and easier ones—was built on a revolutionary principle, the principle that two peoples, two languages and two religions can join together to create a nation.

Canada's strength is that we are not afraid of respecting diversity. We have confidence. We are pro-Canadian and proud of it.

What we are doing today is ensuring that this pride that comes from our history is maintained throughout the 21st century, with the technologies that allow our cultural sector to continue to grow.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

February 21st, 2002 / 3 p.m.
See context

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we will continue this afternoon with report stage debate of Bill C-5 respecting species at risk.

Tomorrow we will consider report stage and third reading of Bill C-30, the courts administration legislation, and return to third reading of Bill C-27 respecting nuclear safety. Bill C-48, the copyright bill, will be our backup work for tomorrow afternoon if we have time.

Next week, we will return to Bill C-5. We are now in the third day of the report stage of that bill and I should think that the House would want to complete consideration of this bill without much further delay. As early as we can, depending on when Bill C-49, the Budget Implementation Act, 2001, is reported from committee, we will want to try to deal with it at the report and third reading stages.

Thursday of next week, February 28, will be an allotted day.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

January 31st, 2002 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is my first reply to the customary Thursday question about House business. I want to thank all the House leaders and deputy House leaders of the other parties for the manner in which they have received this newcomer into their fraternity of House leaders. I look forward to a constructive relationship.

This afternoon we will continue with Bill C-7, the youth justice bill. If this is completed we will proceed to report stage of Bill C-30 respecting courts administration.

Tomorrow we will debate second reading of Bill C-48, the copyright legislation.

Monday we will continue with unfinished business and Tuesday will be an allotted day. Next Wednesday, we hope to be able to start the debate on second reading of the budget legislation.

Copyright ActRoutine Proceedings

December 12th, 2001 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-48, an act to amend the Copyright Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

November 20th, 2001 / 3:20 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, normally I would not use the two minutes that I have left, because I had many opportunities to speak this morning. However, given the importance of Bill C-10, to which we are opposed, I will use those two minutes.

Before oral question period, I was saying that there is confusion within the government's own departments, whether it is Fisheries and Oceans, or Environment Canada. Now, in addition to these two, Canadian heritage wants to be responsible for certain areas, this strictly for Canadian unity reasons.

With this much confusion within the federal government itself, it is easy to imagine the confusion there would be at other levels of government. To whom would a provincial government such as Quebec go in connection with the administration of a protected zone? I have no idea.

This confusion gives rise to another problem as well. The problem is a fundamental one. If the departments of a government cannot work together, how can we expect provincial governments to co-operate? It is understandable that the Government of Quebec would refuse to co-operate in this project. The federal government is unable to tell us clearly and precisely why this bill comes from Canadian heritage, when Fisheries and Oceans Canada already has a marine area protection program. The Bloc Quebecois cannot but oppose such an incredible administrative muddle as this.

The way this bill is to be implemented is not clear; it cannot be clear, because of the very nature of its objectives. Canadian heritage is trying to take over jurisdictions that are not its own. It is also trying, with this bill, to take over areas that are not its areas, and thus to meddle once again in provincial jurisdictions and in Quebec's jurisdiction, under cover of the environment. How far will the federal government go in taking over jurisdictions that belong to Quebec and the other provinces?

I reiterate my opposition to Bill C-10 on protected marine areas for several reasons, including the overlap of the responsibilities of departments and especially because of the indirect approach taken in appropriating jurisdictions that belong exclusively to Quebec and the other provinces.

Once again, the federal government has chosen to introduce a bill that ignores action already taken, and successfully. I am talking of course about the agreement regarding the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park.

I fear for the future of people who believe in this government, which takes no account of their interests. I fear for the future of our environment when the objectives of a bill put before us ignore its primary focus, the environment.

In closing, I want people to understand what we are saying here. The Bloc Quebecois is in favour of protecting the environment, but we cannot be naive to the point of agreeing to pass this bill. The government tried to get the House to pass similar legislation in previous parliaments through Bill C-8 and Bill C-48. Now we have Bill C-10, which creates overlap and through which the government is trying to use crown lands.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

November 20th, 2001 / 1:10 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-10.

Bill C-10 is a rehash of two predecessors, identified at the time as Bills C-8 and C-48. This raises the following question: why did the government not pass C-8? Why did the Liberals, in their third mandate, not pass C-48?

There are a number of reasons why. In the latter case, it is because the Prime Minister decided to call a hasty election in order to catch his adversaries by surprise, particularly the new leader of the Canadian Alliance. He put vote-getting ahead of a number of bills, and this one, along with 22 others fell by the wayside. I remember, because one of those was a private member's bill on shipbuilding.

Now we are only a few weeks away from the anniversary of that election call, at which time that bill on shipbuilding had gone through all the stages, second reading, clause by clause examination in committee and report stage. All that remained was third reading, but the Prime Minister preferred to call an election. I know that my bill was not the only reason; it was primarily to gain political advantage, one might say.

There is another question. If the government had not yet passed this bill on marine conservation areas, it is certainly not because it was a priority. If it was not a priority during the two previous mandates, is it really a priority now? I doubt it. I would tend to believe that the government does not have much to offer to the House in terms of a legislative agenda while the anti-terrorism legislation is still in the planning and consultation stages. In the meantime, it gives us this bill to discuss.

As I recall, when we were dealing with Bill C-8 and Bill C-48, on each occasion I took part in the debate and spoke against those bills for the very same reasons.

We in the Bloc Quebecois often bring up the fact that there is duplication between the federal and provincial governments. This is another case in point. Under the Constitution, natural resources and public lands come under provincial jurisdiction. It is a proven fact.

Nevertheless and in spite of warnings, in spite of the opposition, and in spite of the result of botched consultations, we have this bill before us. If an independent firm were asked to report on the kind of consultations that were carried out on the bill, it would not be very likely that the same company would be hired again. The data is not conclusive.

Moreover, this duplication is, I do not know how to say this, “intrafederal”. We are talking about creating marine conservation areas which would come under the Department of Canadian Heritage, but we already have marine protection areas under the responsibility of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We also have marine wildlife areas under the responsibility of the Department of the Environment.

It bears repeating: marine conservation areas, marine protection areas, and marine wildlife areas.

This, as my father would say, is a lot of hogwash. It is incomprehensible. By trying too hard to protect natural resources, the government may actually harm them, and I wonder about their motives. Apparently conservation is what they have in mind, but conservation in terms of heritage. I suppose that fish could be admired for their beauty or like any other typically Canadian item.

But these things are related and, during the consultations, people said “Yes, but there is a very distinct possibility when there is a desire to protect natural species for heritage reasons in the same areas as fisheries and ocean's marine protection areas”. But fisheries and oceans officials want there to be more fish and fisheries products to feed us, as well as provide work for people in regions such as the Gaspé or the maritimes. The Department of the Environment is also concerned because all this is very closely related.

And precisely because it is closely related, should these three kinds of areas not come under the jurisdiction of one federal body? Imagine the situation for people in Quebec or in other provinces trying to manage projects or areas under the authority of one or the other of these three departments. The federal government is in the process of inventing a weapon by which it can attack provincial jurisdictions from three different angles. One would think we were in Afghanistan, so intense is the bombardment. This will not do. It is intrafederal duplication.

The member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord is laughing, but I know that he agrees with me. He too thinks it is ridiculous. But now, he can no longer say so because he is sitting with the Liberal majority. He is obviously forced to toe the party line. But when he was on this side of the House, he was in favour. Then, he was right to support the creation of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence marine park.

Why was that a good project? Because there was an agreement between Quebec and the federal government intended not just to protect but to develop this beauty, which the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord could still develop.

I could give another example of co-operation that took place, but that is not moving as quickly as we would hope. I am referring to the St. Lawrence action plan, which concerns primarily the shores of the river. Many projects are waiting for funding and money. I saw the tremendous work done by priority intervention zones. The zone in my region is called the Zone d'interventions protégées de Chaudière-Appalaches. Several projects are waiting for money to develop and protect the environment, and to help the ecosystem.

But instead of that, what we have before us is a virtual bill, since it does not target a specific territory. This is an omnibus bill that would allow the government to get involved in jurisdictions that, again, belong to the provinces, this within a framework that does not include public lands alone, but also natural resources that belong to the provinces. This is being done after a rushed consultation process.

When we want a copy of the supposedly 300 pages on the outcome of these consultations, we are given 73. It is as if the protection of these areas were a military secret. It is almost forbidden to say where these areas will be located, as if this were a highly strategic piece of information. If this were a priority, the government would have included it the first time, in Bill C-8, and the second time, in Bill C-48. But it did not do so.

Now that things are quiet and that the government is not ready to go ahead with Bill C-36 because consultations are still going on, it is making us debate this issue in parliament.

I say that it is too bad for the Liberal government. Every time, we tell the government the same thing and say “You are getting involved in provincial jurisdictions. Instead of doing that, put money in your own jurisdictions, in national parks”.

Instead, a report from the auditor general talks about negligence and insufficient staff and funds, before adding that it is an ill-protected area. And the government wants to develop more areas. This just does not make sense.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2001 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to see that the government has decided to follow up on parliamentary issues that began during the 36th parliament.

National marine conservation areas have already been the object of two bills, namely Bill C-8 and Bill C-48.

Bill C-8 was introduced by Heritage Canada to provide a legal framework for the establishment of 28 marine conservation areas, representative of each of the Canadian ecosystems.

As always, the Bloc Quebecois supports the establishment of environmental protection measures. We supported the government when it introduced its legislation to create the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park.

I should point out that the Quebec government is currently taking measures to protect the environment and, more specifically, the seabed.

The Quebec government is also open to joint management, as demonstrated by phase III of the St. Lawrence action plan.

Having said that, we cannot support Bill C-10 for three reasons.

First, contrary to what was done in the case of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park, the federal government wants to act alone by giving itself the right to establish marine conservation areas without any regard for Quebec's jurisdiction over its territory and environment.

Second, the creation of a new structure proposed by Canadian Heritage will duplicate Fisheries and Oceans Canada's marine protected areas and Environment Canada's protected areas.

Third, although it is unable to protect the ecosystems in existing national parks, Canadian Heritage wants to create marine conservation areas.

The bill is consistent with the course set by a federal government, which is increasingly intruding on areas of provincial jurisdiction. Not only is it intruding, but now it is proposing duplication. In fact it would like to duplicate its own responsibilities.

Is it necessary to stress the fact that the bill before us does not respect the integrity of Quebec's territory? One of the main conditions to establish a marine conservation area is for the federal government to be the owner of the territory where it is to be established. The Constitution Act, 1867, states that the sale and management of public lands are an area of exclusive provincial jurisdiction.

Quebec legislation on public lands applies to all public 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, the legislation would provide that Quebec could authorize the federal government to use its lands in connection with matters under federal jurisdiction but only by order in council.

I would add that habitat and wildlife protection is an area of shared jurisdiction and that the Quebec government is planning to establish a framework for the protection of marine areas in the near future.

It would be in the best interests of the federal government to work with the provinces instead of challenging them.

We already have several examples of co-operation such as the protection of the ecosystems in the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park and in the St. Lawrence River. All federal and Quebec departments have endorsed the St. Lawrence action plan, phase III.

Can the government explain clearly why it wants clear title to submerged lands to establish marine conservation areas?

Can it give us assurances and commit to respecting Quebec's land claims? Or is it going to ignore them as usual and establish marine areas wherever it sees fit?

It is our opinion that the mirror legislation which established the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park must serve as the model. It provides that both levels of governments, in Quebec City and Ottawa, continue to exercise their respective jurisdictions. There was no transfer of lands. The co-ordinating committee, which was struck to recommend to the minister responsible measures to reach the management plan objectives, encourages the involvement of local communities and is part of a Canada-Quebec co-operation framework.

There are other examples of co-operation. The environment is a shared jurisdiction under the Constitution Act 1867, and Quebec's jurisdiction is also recognized in the British North America Act, 1867.

By rejecting the concept of co-operation and by imposing title to the territory as an essential condition for the creation of marine conservation areas, the federal government is disregarding Quebec's jurisdiction over the environment, a further intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction.

I would like to illustrate just how complex the situation is in Canada when it comes to bodies of water. I will give an example that I have already given in a prior parliament but I believe it demonstrates just how complex the issues of jurisdiction are in relation to bodies of water, and the duplication between the federal and provincial governments.

Take the example of a fisherman who wants to go fishing on the St. Lawrence River. So far, so good. This fisherman has to ask the provincial government for a fishing licence.

He fishes on a boat he purchased in Quebec but on which he obviously paid a federal tax and a provincial tax. In order to launch his boat he must register it with the federal government.

Up to this point, everything is fine but before launching his boat he gets ready on the shore. He is on a territory under Quebec jurisdiction since the shores come under provincial jurisdiction.

However, the moment he launches his boat he changes jurisdiction because his boat is now on water, which comes under federal jurisdiction.

However, for clarity I must say that the bottom of the river is still under provincial jurisdiction. The fish that swims in the water and that the fisherman will try to catch is, unknowingly, under federal jurisdiction. But its friend, the crab, which is crawling on the bottom of the river, is under shared jurisdiction, even though the bottom of the river is still under provincial jurisdiction.

Once it is harvested, the fish that swims in federal waters will end up at the bottom of a boat. Then it falls under provincial jurisdiction. One must pay very close attention to the regulations, since there are federal quotas for those fish.

If we are talking about commercial fishing, there are federal and provincial laws and regulations regarding food, the environment, safety, equipment and so on. Do members understand? It is very complicated, is it not?

It is even hard for us to find our way through all this, so members can imagine how lost the average citizen who is not familiar with all these jurisdictions feels when he is told to get a licence.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

November 8th, 2001 / 11:20 a.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, at third reading debate on behalf of my riding of Skeena and my party.

I have much to say about this very ominous bill. My comments reflect not only my observations about the bill but those of the witnesses that came before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage both last month and in late May of this year. My comments will echo the concerns outlined by numerous municipal and chamber of commerce representatives who wrote to the committee but were not afforded the opportunity to present their concerns as witnesses.

It was the government's wish to get the bill out of committee and through the parliamentary process as quickly as possible thereby eliminating debate and discussion. I will endeavour to explain why the government might have wanted to rush the bill through. I hope that the Senate and its committee will take more time to review the bill and consult widely with coastal Canadians before they decide the its fate.

I suggest that members in the other place take the time to travel with their committee to those coastal communities. That suggestion was made numerous times in the House of Commons heritage committee by the communities themselves but it was ignored.

I will speak to the lack of consultation on Bill C-10 by the heritage department and the lack of understanding of the effects of the bill on coastal communities. I am surprised Liberal members representing coastal communities and ridings are not as offended by the legislation as I am. They should take a long look at the impact the bill could have on the economies of their ridings and stand with me in opposition to the bill.

It is worth noting that many times during the clause by clause review of the bill in committee the opposition and a Liberal member or two were united in opposition to a clause or supported an amendment I was making. Unfortunately when it came time to vote the parliamentary secretary called the shots and all the good Liberals fell in line.

They gave the appearance of listening to the arguments of the opposition on issues like guaranteed consultation, jurisdictional concerns and provincial or coastal community vetoes. The record will show that in the end they voted against amendments which would have made the bill far more palatable to coastal communities. Government members were not interested in making Bill C-10 palatable. They were simply tired of the bill dying on the order paper.

Commitments were made that the bill would go through. The government believed that come hell or high water Bill C-10 would see the light of day in this parliament. It is my hope that it will not without serious amendment, and I will speak to that in the body of my speech.

I take exception to claims by government members that we on this side of the House do not care about the environment or parks so why we even consider supporting the bill. This is a totally false assumption on their part.

The Canadian Alliance has a good track record of concern for the environment. We do not, as opposed to the Liberal record, pander to one group over another. We seek a balance in legislation that speaks to the concerns of environmentalists and addresses the realities of industrial and socioeconomic problems.

I consider myself to be an environmentalist. Environmental groups in downtown Vancouver and Toronto may not subscribe to my definition of an environmentalist but that does not make their way any better than mine. I will explain.

I have lived in northern B.C. all my life. When one lives in northwestern B.C., surrounded by coastal mountains, the Pacific Ocean, the Grand Skeena and Nass rivers and blue glaciers, one cannot but have a healthy respect for mother nature in all its glory. Anyone I know that lives in the north respects the environment, not only for its beauty but for what it has given the communities that exist as a result of its riches.

Most northern communities in my riding of Skeena were founded on industries that harvested the renewable or non-renewable resources of nature. Thriving communities erupted as a result of a need for workers because industries took the risk and situated themselves in northern B.C., and the cycle continued.

It is because of one sided legislation like Bill C-10 and poor provincial management by the previous provincial NDP government of B.C. that natural resource industries fled northern B.C. As a result many people in those northern resource based communities had to pack up and leave as well. They had to go where the work was. Unfortunately that has been a reality of much of northern B.C.

I consider myself an environmentalist, not only because of where I am from and my respect for the environment, but because I hunt, fish and camp in that environment. It is in my best interest that I treat it with respect and ensure its strength for future generations to come.

I am not opposed to the creation of marine conservation areas. I am opposed to legislation such as Bill C-10. It was introduced and passed by the federal Liberal government without concern for the effect that it would have on coastal communities and without any real consultation with the people and industries that the bill would seriously affect.

How could bureaucrats in Ottawa really understand what a piece of legislation like Bill C-10 would do to the economies of coastal communities? The reality is that they cannot because Ottawa is too far removed from the issue of life on the coast.

The official opposition would likely have been in favour of the bill had the government taken the time to travel to B.C., Atlantic Canada and northern Canada. It should talked to coastal communities about Bill C-10 before it introduced the bill as opposed to drafting it with only the environmental lobby on hand. We are opposed to the bill because of the Liberal government practice of secrecy at all costs and input at a minimum.

We should not for a second believe what the government says about the environmental record and concerns of the Canadian Alliance. It is just not correct. We are strong on the environment but also strong on balance, and the bill is not balanced.

We have major concerns over the lack of consultation. I will give members of the House some background on the lack of consultation on Bill C-10 prior to it coming back to the House at third reading.

The parliamentary secretary and members of the government will say that in its previous incarnations as Bill C-48 in the first session of the 36th parliament and as Bill C-8 in the second session of the same parliament the subject matter was consulted on widely. Let me clarify that claim by explaining that the government circulated Bill C-48, the predecessor to Bill C-10, to about 700 stakeholders across Canada.

Only a few were ever heard in committee, some of whom came from my riding of Skeena. Many expressed their concerns over the bill's obvious duplication of efforts with the recently created Oceans Act by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

We are told that departmental officials listened to the concerns of those stakeholders and amended the bill accordingly, reflecting their concerns in the new Bill C-10. Not only do I disagree with this claim, because Bill C-10 does not reflect the changes the witnesses asked for, but I find it disturbing that the supposed new and improved bill was never sent back to the original 700 stakeholders to see if the changes met with their approval.

If the government amended a piece of legislation based on comments from the stakeholders from which it had requested comments, it would seem logical that it would take the time to show off how well it listened and acted on their concerns. In this case it did not.

The point could be made by the government that it did not see the point in mailing the new and supposedly improved bill to the 700 stakeholders because it was not new or improved. If the government had done a proper consultation on Bill C-10, it would have found out early on, like its predecessors, that it too was not satisfactory to the identified stakeholders.

I guess the minister did not feel it necessary to tip off opponents to the bill that nothing had changed. She was prepared to push through unwanted, inaccurate legislation that as currently written would have an adverse effect on the economies of most coastal communities in northern British Columbia, particularly in my riding of Skeena.

Many of my constituents and I believe the committee consultation process was equally disappointing. The consultation process prior to the drafting and introduction of Bill C-10 was a farce. I will elaborate.

Bill C-10 was introduced in the House in February and sent to committee shortly thereafter. Initially the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage had every intention to do precious little in the way of consultation and planned to send the bill back to the House for report stage and third reading prior to the House rising for the summer recess. This did not happen as planned and I will explain why.

As a member of parliament representing a coastal riding, representatives of coastal municipalities and various chambers of commerce came to me asking for an opportunity to be heard by the committee dealing with Bill C-10. I immediately expressed this concern to the committee, which had at that point in early May decided to limit the number of witnesses and close off debate. I had to fight hard with the committee members to allow my witnesses to be heard. They used every trick in the book and blamed me, if members can imagine, for my constituents not being heard.

Because I pointed out rather publicly that the committee had only heard from witnesses representing either environmental groups, industries or communities from eastern Canada and had ignored the west coast, the committee reluctantly agreed to re-open the witness list.

Throughout the summer months the concern over certain aspects of Bill C-10 grew in my riding, and in fact all over coastal B.C., to the point where my list of witnesses expanded from a mere 3 or 4 to a full 25 to 30. These were not industry representatives. They were mayors, councillors, presidents of chambers of commerce, small business owners, fishermen and even people currently living close to a marine park on the Queen Charlotte Islands. They all had their areas of concern and all wanted their opportunity to speak to the committee.

Mr. Speaker, you can imagine my surprise when I presented this enthusiastic list of concerned coastal Canadians to the committee and received a less than enthusiastic reply. It was obvious the committee was not pleased with what had transpired over the summer.

I will not single out any particular member of the committee as they know who they are, but I was faced with the committee saying that it could not hear from all my witnesses because it would just take too long. The committee also said that if it heard from all the witnesses from my province then it would have to hear witnesses from other provinces and that there simply was no time.

I think there was a lot of time. If we are going to create a proper bill we should listen to witnesses from all over. If we take the time to do it right there will be a whole lot less opposition to the bill. The committee said that the bill had to be back in the House right away.

Mr. Speaker, I am paraphrasing but I hope you get the picture I am painting about the reluctance of the committee to hear from my witnesses. In the end I was told to negotiate with the clerk of the committee to get my witnesses on the list.

I understand that the committee did decide, reluctantly I believe, to set up video conferencing facilities in my riding and in Vancouver in order to hear from some of these witnesses. It was not enough to open the witness list to witnesses expressing concern for areas of the bill. The government would not be outdone. It filled the witness list with more environmental groups or representatives supporting the bill in order to more than even things off.

In the end the committee heard from more environmental groups supporting the bill than representatives of coastal or affected communities expressing concerns or reservations about certain aspects of Bill C-10.

I have to say that I am particularly disappointed that of my 25 to 30 prepared witnesses I was in the end allowed representation from 12 but only 4 of those were allowed to come to Ottawa. However I will say that those 12 witnesses were very representative of areas in B.C. I had, for instance, the mayor of Prince Rupert, Don Scott; the mayor of Kitimat, Richard Wozney; the mayor of Port Clements, Joan Ann Allen; the mayor of the village of Telkwa, Sharon Hartwell; the chair of the regional district of Bulkley Valley-Stikine, Joanne Monaghan; the regional district of Skeena-Queen Charlottes represented by Paddy Greene; the village of Smithers mayor, Brian Northup represented by Cress Farrow; industries like the B.C. Fishermen's Survival Coalition president, Phil Isaac; and the B.C. Seafood Alliance president, Michelle James. Representatives from the north coast oil and gas task force, Dave McGuigan and Reg Stowell were also present, as was a representative from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce who spoke on behalf of both the B.C. chamber and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, noting that both had concerns about the potential economic effect the bill would have on communities.

I know I am going into a lot of detail about the process of the bill at committee, Mr. Speaker, but to understand just how much distrust there is out there, particularly in my home province of B.C., over the bill and its supposed guarantees of consultation, you need to know how little consultation there actually was and how hard it was to achieve the little leeway I was given for witnesses by the government.

Mr. Speaker, you need to understand that there were a number of letters received by the committee, phone calls to my office, faxes from concerned communities and even a unanimously passed resolution by the Union of B.C. Municipalities. By the way, it is nearly unheard of for UBCM to pass a resolution on the need for further consultation on federal legislation, and to pass it unanimously is an even greater feat. Even with that kind of pressure to slow the process down of approving Bill C-10, and with that strong suggestion from a group of elected officials representing a province with over three million residents, the committee chose to limit debate and discussion and, most of all, testimony from concerned witnesses to a mere 12.

I would suggest that it is no wonder British Columbians take no solace in the federal Liberal government's promise of full consultation with not only the provincial government prior to the creation of an MCA, but there is also no trust in its claim that an MCA will not go ahead if the local affected community is not in favour of it.

I would also argue that the government of British Columbia wanted more time to study the bill. To that end, I believe the B.C. minister of energy himself asked the federal government to delay passage of Bill C-10 until B.C. could complete its study on the potential for offshore oil and gas development in coastal B.C. This was a study planned to be completed by the end of January 2002 and the federal government could not wait a mere three months to appease the province with the largest coastline in Canada.

That is shameful and again exemplifies why coastal communities are simply afraid the federal government will come in with proclamations that it is there to help and charge in with directives and decisions without any concern for the needs and realities of those coastal communities. They believe, and with good reason, that the feds will force MCAs on coastal communities and the reality is that there is nothing in the bill that will prevent it from doing just that.

That brings me to the discussion on the amendments the official opposition tried to suggest in the committee's clause by clause review of the bill and were denied.

First I must say that we certainly did our homework. The official opposition listened to witnesses, read the submitted briefs and reacted. We came to committee prepared with a list of 30 amendments which, in our opinion, would have made the bill more palatable to both the province and, most important, to those affected coastal communities. Disappointedly, the Liberal government dominated committee and voted down all but one of my amendments.

Allow me, Mr. Speaker, to give you a brief synopsis of some of those defeated amendments, what they would have meant to the bill and how they could have been viewed as positive changes by the many concerned coastal communities.

On 10 separate occasions, in clauses 2, 5, 6 and 7, I tried my very best to include amendments that would have guaranteed the provinces a veto over the creation of any marine conservation areas created by the legislation and, as such, by the federal government, on either provincial land or areas where the jurisdiction of the land was under dispute by either the federal or provincial governments.

These were simple amendments that would have allayed any fears of either the province of B.C. or its residents of a unilateral federal government directive to institute an MCA in an area where, quite frankly, either the province did not see the need for one or because the provincial government of B.C. believes in consultation, that the coastal communities obviously did not want one.

In many cases the entire opposition parties were in agreement to these amendments. The Bloc member on numerous occasions expressed her concern about the legislation which once again trounces on provincial rights assured in the constitution. The PC/DR coalition member echoed these concerns as well and yet in the end, as per usual, the government members feigned interest but voted against the amendments.

At first I honestly thought it might be because they realized how good these amendments were and how needed they were to secure the support of coastal B.C. and, believe it or not, I thought the government might actually vote against these amendments in committee to save face and then introduce similar amendments at report stage to make it look like these were its ideas. We all know the government does that all the time with Alliance amendments. However, in this case, unfortunately, it did not.

This speaks to the horrible track record the Liberal government has when it comes to listening to the concerns of Canadians and then acting on them. As I mentioned earlier, it listens and feigns interest but rarely, if ever, does anything unless forced.

Here is an example of the wording of one of these amendments and the rationale I expressed as to why the bill needed to be amended. The amendment, known in committee evidence as CA amendment No. 3, dealt with clause 2. Specifically, we were trying to create a new clause 2, subclause (2) which would have read as follows:

For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the existing rights of a province over public lands, including submerged lands, which fall within its provincial boundaries. As such, no marine conservation area shall be created without the specific approval of the affected province.

My rationale for such a simple amendment was simply that many of the witnesses on both sides of the issue expressed concern over not having an explicit provincial veto over MCAs in their province. Although clause 5, subclause (2) explains that the land needs to be the unencumbered right of Canada, it does not specifically address the requirement of the province to agree with the creation of the MCA.

Further to that, I explained that the purpose of adding the new clause in that section of the bill was specifically to mirror the reassurances the drafters of the bill felt necessary to include for the aboriginal peoples of Canada. We simply felt that if it was important for the sense of clarity that protection of rights given to aboriginal peoples in the constitution be included that it too was appropriate for the bill to include the rights of provinces to a veto as well.

It was not my intention to delete the current clause 2, subclause (2) dealing with the aboriginal veto to the creation of MCAs, but to move it to a new clause 2, subclause (3), thereby coming after the provincial veto in the bill. Although in my opinion this was, on the surface, a simple and practical amendment, the government decided to oppose it in committee and take another more negative approach to reassuring provincial rights in the bill. Allow me to explain.

The federal Liberal government members on the committee instead supported an amendment to clause 5 which put the onus of fighting the creation of an unwanted MCA on the backs of the affected province. The following is the government's amendment creating a new clause 5, subclause (3). It reads:

If a court of competent jurisdiction finds that Her Majesty in right of Canada does not have clear title to or an unencumbered right of ownership in lands within a marine conservation area, the Governor in Council may, by order, amend Schedule 1 by removing the name and description of the area or by altering the description of the area.

Further to my comments earlier about how this is the wrong way of going about creating MCAs, meaning that if they are created in an area that the province believes the ownership of that area is disputed and the federal government goes ahead regardless of that claim and creates an MCA, as mentioned, the onus is on the province to challenge the ownership of the federal government to that land. Not only could this process take years and end up costing taxpayers a hefty sum, but in the end a new clause is drafted such that even if the province wins the dispute and requests that the MCA be removed, the clause does not require the governor in council to amend it.

Instead it clearly states “The Governor in Council may, by order, amend Schedule 1”. That clearly is a may and not a shall, meaning that even if the province is successful in the courts, the federal government, through the governor in council, can choose to ignore the results of that court case.

For the record let me state that my amendment was not only much clearer and far simpler but was in the end opposed by the government. I hope the members in the House today and the senators, who hopefully will read this testimony, understand the picture I am painting. There is nothing in the bill explicitly stopping the federal government from imposing a marine conservation area on any province, whether it wants one or agrees to cede its rights to the land or not. This is a blatant abuse of power and is exactly why the federal Liberal government has such a poor relationship with the provinces of this great country.

That brings me to my amendment dealing with the environment and with resource uses within the MCAs. I brought forward, on eight separate occasions, amendments that would have made the legislation more balanced. As it is currently drafted, it is, in my opinion, far too heavily weighted on the environmental side of things and does not take into account the realities of life in coastal communities as well as the realities faced by industries that make their livings from harvesting the resources of the seas.

These amendments were not unrealistic and certainly were representative of the sentiments expressed by the witnesses who testified in committee and in written submissions sent by those who did not speak directly to the committee. Among those amendments, the most palatable to the committee should have been my amendment to clause 13. Clause 13 dealt with the prohibition of exploration and development of hydrocarbons within MCAs. The current clause 13 specifically outlines the prohibition of any exploration, development and exploitation of hydrocarbons, aggregates or inorganic matter from within an MCA. When I asked departmental officials to clarify whether this prohibition also outlawed directional drilling underneath an MCA, I was told that it did.

Therefore, again to allay any fears of coastal communities looking to the development of offshore oil and gas as a potential economic boom to their area, and because the passage of the bill would prohibit in perpetuity the development of that potential, I suggested the following amendment: “That clause 13 be amended to include an exception to the listed prohibitions”.

That exemption was to be a new clause 13.1 and was to read as follows:

The minister may permit the use of directional drilling equipment, in the case of sub-seabed drilling for hydrocarbons, from a point outside a marine conservation area, to a point below the seabed, within the marine conservation area, where the practices are determined by the minister to not pose any serious threat to the existing ecosystem of that marine conservation area.

To explain further, the amendment put the onus on the oil and gas industry to prove to the minister's satisfaction that directional drilling techniques are safe and pose no serious threat to the environment. I really thought this would be a win-win for both the government, or might I say the minister, and for the industry. In my opinion this was not slanted in favour of industry but, if anything, it did not close the door fully to oil and gas exploration but did not leave it wide open either.

However, as with the other amendments, the government summarily dismissed it and steadfastly voted against it in committee. That is why I had to move my report stage Motion No. 6 to delete clause 13. I felt that if we could strike a deal on setting guidelines for offshore oil and gas that the government should remove that clause and not specifically mention it so as to keep the door open a crack, just a little bit, for future consideration.

We can see the pattern. The government cracked the whip and its members one by one stood in their places and opposed this report stage amendment as well.

I could go on at length about the concerns I still have with the bill and about the abuse of power by the government throughout the entire consultation process on the bill but I do not have much time left.

I close by saying that this has been my first attempt at what is called shadowing a government bill. Many members may know that this is my first term in parliament and I am certainly new at it.

For a place which supposedly prides itself on its standards of democracy, on representing the wishes of those who elected its members and on working toward modernizing parliament to make it more effective, I can truly say that based on the experience I have had in dealing with the bill since early this year, this place and its committees are neither democratic nor representative.

I know the federal Liberal government has the seats and therefore the votes to pass the bill without a problem. However I stand here to strongly urge those MPs with coastal communities or MPs concerned about giving too much power to the federal government and the erosion of rights given to the provinces in the constitution, to stand strong with me and my party to oppose this badly flawed legislation. Oppose the bill. Send it back to the drafters for some severe editing.

If the government wants to create marine conservation areas, which I believe is a worthy endeavour, let us ensure it is done the right way the first time. I urge members to oppose Bill C-10 at the third reading vote.

Mr. Speaker, 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, be not now read a third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for the purpose of reconsidering clause 10 with the view to ensure that the affected provinces are given explicit veto powers over the creation of marine conservation areas.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

November 6th, 2001 / 11:35 a.m.
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Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Oh yes, after Lévis. I am not so sure, but anyway.

So, these people took charge and called the attention of the two levels of government to their priorities. Together, they came to an agreement.

As we know the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park covers a very large area of several square kilometres. These people set up a co-ordination committee. They said “Since these jurisdictions could be shared between the two levels of government, we will call to task each government regarding their respective responsibilities”.

On April 1, 1990, after all these negotiations, the governments of Canada and Quebec signed the agreement establishing the 29th marine park.

Bill C-10 is about creating 28 marine conservation areas. But both groups of amendments before us tell the provinces “We are going to make the decisions. We are going to set a framework in place”. We are fed up with frameworks. I think we have quite enough of them in Canada.

I do not think any government member has read this agreement, or maybe a few did. I would have liked them to read it and then say “We are going to start from this, and, wherever we want to create a marine conservation area in Canada, we will use identical legislation and we will build on this instead of reinventing the wheel”.

With this bill, we are reinventing the wheel. I think there are more important issues we should be debating. On November 6, 2001, instead of discussing existing legal entities, we should start from there, and respect provincial jurisdictions.

That framework legislation was respectful of entities recognized in the Canadian constitution. It recognized the fact that the sea floor is under provincial jurisdiction. In that context, the Canadian government and the Quebec government could take action in their respective jurisdictions without interfering with one another.

Quebec contributed $11 million plus another $5 million, while Canada put up $9 million. In Saguenay—Lac-St-Jean, phase two has begun. It is working and we are moving forward.

I would like to congratulate my colleague from Quebec for her speech. I applaud her. She pursues this issue with a lot of determination. We cannot allow this government to interfere again in provincial jurisdictions, whether in Quebec, Ontario, the maritimes, the western provinces or British Columbia. Enough is enough. I think that it is time we talked about consultation. With this bill, the Canadian government is not talking about consultation.

They want a new structure. We would need money for all that. The profile of a marine park is very important. It defines the beauty of the area within the park. We should also take into account the priorities of the local population. This is not what this bill is doing; it is creating a top down structure.

The government does not know which bill to present. It does not have a legislative agenda. It brings old things back instead of taking what is on the table and starting from there.

Through our critic, the member for Québec, the Bloc Quebecois will once again be saying that we do not agree. We said that we did not agree with Bill C-48. And we will be saying that we do not agree with Bill C-10.

The Liberal member said that feasibility studies were going to be done. These have been done. We have a basic document. Why not build from there?

Submerged lands belong to the provinces. The framework agreement for the 25th marine park recognized this. Why must we keep fighting to have this government respect the constitution? They said submerged lands belonged to the provinces, they put it in writing and they signed. Why, this morning, must we debate a done deal?

The government thinks that the opposition parties do not realize we have already been down this path. Perhaps the Liberals have nothing to say so they are keeping us awake? All they want to do is interfere in provincial jurisdiction. What is going on here in the House right now is serious. Bill C-10 should never have seen the light of day. It should have stayed where it was.

During the 36th parliament, when this bill died on the order paper, I thought that the government would do some thinking, that officials would read the agreement already signed, that they would have done their homework. I see that the government is a real tower of Babel. No one knows what they are supposed to do. Everyone wants to grab a little bit of power which is not theirs by law.

Enough. I think that this bill should die on the order paper. The Bloc Quebecois will not give its approval to a bill which, once again, creates overlapping jurisdictions. This bill will allow the Minister of Canadian Heritage to create another structure and interfere in the work of other departments. The Department of the Environment and fisheries and oceans will be involved. Several departments are parties to these marine park agreements. The minister is giving herself the power to tell them what to do.

Imagine the confusion this bill will create within the Canadian government. We must see that public money goes elsewhere than into bills that are obsolete and unnecessary.

As the hon. member for Québec said, the Bloc Quebecois will be voting against this bill. And I hope that the majority of members in the House will do the same.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

November 6th, 2001 / 11:35 a.m.
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Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address Bill C-10 this morning.

I would have thought that the Liberal government, which sponsored Bill C-48 when I was the Bloc Quebecois critic on the environment, a bill similar to the legislation now before us, would have listened to opposition parties and heard what we said during the previous parliament.

Bill C-10 will result in duplication, and the federal government will take over jurisdictions that do not belong to it under the Constitution Act of 1867. This is a mixed bag of things other than what is targeted. The federal government is interfering through the involvement of the Minister of Canadian Heritage in areas that come under fisheries and oceans, and it creates new structures that are not needed.

In 1988, the governments of Quebec and Canada passed mirror legislation. I have a copy of the agreement creating the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park. That legislation was developed by the community.

At some point, people decided to do something about their environment. They got together and contacted the two levels of government. They told them “We want to work together to do something for our region”. In my opinion, the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and the St. Lawrence are the most beautiful regions of the country—

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

November 6th, 2001 / 11 a.m.
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Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-10. This is not a new bill; it follows two bills that were introduced in the House before that last election campaign, Bills C-8 and C-48.

At report stage, we can present amendments. The Bloc Quebecois has supported many proposals made by the government. The Bloc is not opposed to the protection of the environment, but rather to the way the federal government is acting in this matter.

We were against Bills C-8 and C-48 that were before the House before the election campaign, because they infringed provincial jurisdiction. The Bloc Quebecois proposed an amendment that it would have liked the government to accept. This amendment dealt with the protection of territories. The territory is either federal or provincial; as we know, the sea floor belongs to the provinces, according to the Constitution of 1867. The Bloc Quebecois opposes the principle of the transfer of these rights to the federal government.

Clause 10.1 was an irritant. While we were in favour of requiring negotiations with the provinces, it sets out consultations. This bill is weak when it comes to following through on the government's wishes, and history has taught us to be cautious. Members need only think of the millennium scholarships, and the whole issue of young offenders. The Bloc Quebecois will ensure that all of the necessary safeguards are in place to protect provincial jurisdictions and areas of responsibility.

The amendments moved by the New Democratic Party and the Canadian Alliance could be examined individually; they support the zones established to protect ecosystems. This is not the cause of our concern. My colleagues know this; I have already informed them.

There is the whole issue of overlap between different departments. There are three conservation zones: marine conservation areas, which come under canadian heritage; marine protection areas, the responsibility of fisheries and oceans, and marine reserves, which come under the Department of the Environment.

There will therefore be three different structures to complicate the situation. In the case of negotiations with local authorities or the provinces, there will obviously be a certain amount of confusion. The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans was quite ineffectual in protecting marine areas, marine protection zones or marine reserves. There are several zones and there are three departments to manage the task.

Not only is there overlap within the federal level—and it is easy to see how this will create confusion—but there is also overlap in some provinces between Environment Canada and its provincial counterpart, such as in Quebec.

In Quebec, we have our own way of doing things. We proposed a number of amendments. We know that it is Quebec that established a memorandum of understanding with the federal government, which takes into consideration a master plan. This plan includes safeguards to protect the environment and ecosystems. Everything is in place.

This bill was not based on this approach, or if it was, it follows the federal government's centralist vision, the same way the government always does things.

Quebec had an innovative idea that made provision for jurisdictions. With this bill, the federal government is totally upsetting the approach of the Quebec government. It had proposed the master plan, and a law was enacted to protect a specific marine area, namely the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park.

My colleague, the member for Jonquière, who has often raised this matter in the House of Commons, is very familiar with the matter and knows what is involved in the law and the memorandum between the Government of Quebec and the federal government. A marine area was established in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region where I come from.

This agreement provides very clearly that the area will not be transferred. It must not be assumed that Quebec will transfer the marine area, which is public land. The constitution provides that the provinces own crown land. This is therefore annoying. It would have been possible, with an agreement, to not go ahead with the land transfer. We would have liked this bill to incorporate the amendments proposed by the Bloc.

As people know, I am not the first to speak to this matter. My colleague from Portneuf is also a vigorous defender of Quebec's jurisdiction and of shared jurisdictions. He too spoke out against Bill C-8, Bill C-48, and now Bill C-10, saying we would not support it.

There are therefore a number of irritants. We also do not agree with extending the scope of the obligations of Canadian heritage. We know the Minister of Canadian Heritage goes in for propaganda a lot. Indeed, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage was saying earlier that they would provide some education on the protection of marine areas. Education is a provincial matter.

Spending is another very subtle way of meddling in the jurisdictions of the provinces. I say spending, because when the government establishes a program, puts an infrastructure in place, we all know there are other officials working on it and setting up programs. The minister could simply say that she would prepare a fine kit for schools on the federal marine areas.

So there is overlapping. There is no agreement to extend the scope of Heritage Canada's obligations. There is also the complexity and inconsistency of the three departments. There is the centralizing goal. We have examples such as the Young Offenders Act, which is contrary to Quebec's legislation. I will come back to this later, since I will have the opportunity to rise several times today.

Thus, the Bloc Quebecois wanted an amendment that went much further to ensure that each marine area, for example, would be debated and negotiated separately. I know that we are not the only ones in the field who oppose the bill such as it is. I do not know how the other parties will vote, but there are several irritants.

We also know that marine areas often disrupt some ways of doing things in other Canadian regions. In the west, we are told that the local economy must be respected. Local economies must also be allowed to develop. Will this be inconsistent with marine areas? There are amendments that tell us we should really first investigate to determine whether a marine area can be established at a certain place. We are not against these amendments. We believe that some of them make sense. But there is more. We can imagine what the major irritant is and the whole underlying principle of this bill, that is that the government seeks to intrude into provincial jurisdictions.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

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

Bloc

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 Bill...is 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

Bloc

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.
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Bloc

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.
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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.