Species at Risk Act

An Act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in November 2003.

This bill was previously introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

David Anderson  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now 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.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 7th, 2002 / 11:25 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the House leader on the opposite side has tried to avoid answering the questions on Bill C-15B and Bill C-5 that my colleague addressed to him, which are very straightforward. It goes to the root problem of why we are sitting in this place. It is because we are here to make good legislation that applies appropriately across the board to all citizens.

The problem that we have right now and that we have been discussing for half an hour is a democratic problem. When I go into my riding people tell me all the time that this place is dysfunctional and that they feel they have no voice here. That is why 40% of them checked out of the last election. The government is going for a legacy, a legacy of invoking closure or time allocation 78 times. The last government did it 72 times.

Why would the government want to continue that legacy?

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 7th, 2002 / 11:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, both those bills have been voted on by the House. Some amendments were proposed at various stages in committee and elsewhere. Members on all sides of the House considered those amendments. The minister considered those amendments in the case of both bills. Accommodations were made on a whole number of amendments to Bill C-5. Everyone recognizes that. As a matter of fact, the hon. member's colleague a few moments ago talked about the fact that we studied the bill for too long. I think he said something like nine years. Obviously, many points of view were considered at that time.

As to why the House voted a particular way or a committee voted a particular way on a particular amendment, obviously that is not for me to say as government House leader.

On the issue of Bill C-15B, I said before that the government very much wants the procedures to occur in a way that do not adversely affect the agricultural community. That has been said. The minister has said it in speeches in the House and elsewhere. Everyone knows that is the case. Of course, the bill will go before the Senate and the Senate can propose at that point amendments that it deems necessary, if it deems any amendments to be necessary.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 7th, 2002 / 11:25 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, in a constructive vein in terms of these questions, I would like the Canadian public to know just exactly what the Alliance's disquiet is with Bill C-5 and Bill C-15. I would like the House leader to explain why these two simple things could not be done.

Bill C-5 talks about reasonable compensation. That is subject to a very broad discretion. The Alliance would be very pleased with this bill if fair market value compensation was in the bill. My question to the House leader on that bill is this. Why would the government not put in fair market value compensation for landowners whose land is withdrawn because of society's broad goal?

On Bill C-15 our concern is that farmers and ranchers will have their operations impacted by frivolous animal rights activists. My question to the House leader is this. Why would the government not exclude in the bill normal agricultural practices?

These are two straightforward questions.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 7th, 2002 / 11:20 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, it seems that the government is probably headed toward establishing a centenary record. The government is at 78 closures and, who knows, it may get the 100. I do not think that is very complimentary to any government. I know when it was in the opposition, it certainly criticized the government in power at the time.

I sat for many hours in the environment committee on Bill C-5. However my concern is that for Bill C-15B a promise was made to the backbench agricultural people in the your own caucus that the Senate would guarantee that all the things for which we were asking would be put in the bill. We learned in December that the Senate said that nobody would tell it anything. Those promises, which were made, will not be kept. Now the bill will come back to the House and we will have no assurance that you will not shut down an entire industry and leave it up to those outside the House to decide what cruelty is. We are in a drastic situation.

I think that bill--

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 7th, 2002 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are so many things wrong with those allegations one barely knows where to start.

The hon. member says I have moved time allocation. I have not. I have moved closure, as a matter of fact.

He talks about an omnibus bill. There is no omnibus bill before the House at all. This is an enabling motion to permit the government not to create any new bill but to reintroduce that which has already been discussed at the stage completed prior to where we concluded the debate when we adjourned in June, so it is entirely inaccurate to say that.

The other thing is the member let the cat out of the bag in his allegation because he recognized himself that the opposition had moved a phony dilatory motion with the pretext of removing the possibility from the government to reintroduce two very important measures supported by a large number of Canadians, namely Bill C-5, the species at risk bill, which everybody wants us to move ahead with, and it is the same thing with Bill C-15B.

Those arguments are not very genuine.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 2:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Madam Speaker, first, I want to congratulate you on your appointment and I wish you an excellent session.

As regards Bill C-5, I was the Bloc Quebecois critic on the environment for several years, and already back then the endangered species legislation was controversial. We could not support the bill, because we felt that it had not been drafted properly. There were huge complications regarding the implementation of the act. Already back then, we felt that, from a legal point of view, there would be constant disputes between Quebec, which has its own act to protect endangered species, and the federal government.

I remember that we asked that Quebec be allowed to opt out of this act, because it already had an act to protect its endangered species, but the federal government refused.

As we know, when bills are drafted, they are not always perfect. We currently have two bills that are very flawed—as was pointed out by the Canadian Alliance, and we agree with it on that—and this would give us an opportunity to re-examine them, to reorganize them and perhaps to even rewrite them.

Let us take a look at Bill C-15B dealing with animal protection. This bill was originally Bill C-15, but it had to be split in two, because it had become a catch-all bill that included all sorts of provisions, and it just did not work. So, the government split it in two. However, at the time, the government did not take into account the fact that the act might no longer work, like that. This is an opportunity for us to go back to the drawing board. These two bills are among the most complex ones currently before the House.

We have an opportunity to re-examine them and I would ask the hon. member to elaborate on Bill C-15.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 2:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague, the hon. member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, talk about Bill C-5, with respect to this motion before us and to the related amendment.

Throughout his comments, he referred to the part of Bill C-5, the bill on species at risk, dealing with compensation. I believe that it is important that he tell us more about it and elaborate on this topic.

I would like him to elaborate and explain what Bill C-5 involves when it comes to compensation to educate the members of this House, particularly the members opposite, to whom he referred in his speech. I think this is a good opportunity because he is very knowledgeable and we could learn more about the stakes involved in this issue.

Once again, could he repeat why he supports the proposal made by the Canadian Alliance that we are presently debating?

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 1:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to take part today in this debate on Government Motion No. 2. I must also express my opinion and indicate our intentions with regard to the motion brought forward by the Canadian Alliance member for Macleod. That motion would exclude from the process two bills, namely Bill C-15B on animal cruelty and Bill C-5 on species at risk.

First, I will talk about the purpose of Motion No. 2. For those who are listening to us, this motion is being brought forward so that bills that had been considered or adopted at various stages in the previous session may be deemed to have been considered or adopted at these same stages in this session. This means that we will resume consideration of bills at the stage where we left them, whether in committee or in the Senate, at the time of prorogation.

We have nothing against the process but I feel obliged to take part in the debate because I feel there is something rather paradoxical here. Taking just one example, the environment, for which I am my party's critic, there are three bills. There is the endangered species bill, the environmental assessment bill and, most particularly, the pesticides bill. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health is responsible for the latter, which did not get through all the stages of the legislative process. Now the government is announcing its intention to introduce another. Also, it intends to introduce, again, legislation relating to the Endangered Species Act. And it intends to introduce, again, a bill on environmental assessment.

The throne speech is somewhat of a paradox. Today they are telling us that they intend to reintroduce legislation that was introduced two years ago, or more recently than that.

So one may well wonder: why have a throne speech? Why such a hollow throne speech that does nothing but rehash old legislation? This Parliament is engaged in a pure waste of time.

I have just been listening to criticism from the other side of the floor, about some MPs wanting to waste money as well as members' time. Is it not making us waste time to announce legislative measures, bills and legislation already with the Senate? That too is a waste of time.

We agree in principle with having bills that have already been examined picked up where they left off, but with the exception of certain bills, such as Bill C-5 on endangered species, in connection with which the official opposition presented an amendment.

There are three reasons why we are opposed to this bill being reinstated at the stage it had reached. First of all, it is flagrant interference in areas that are under Quebec's jurisdiction. There is no greater interference as far as the environment is concerned than this bill, C-5. I would remind hon. members that Quebec had its own endangered species legislation as far back as 1992. This government came along with a bill indicating that it was creating new positions of authority over endangered species.

We were presented with this bill that they tried to ram through, a bill that shunted aside Quebec's legislation respecting endangered species, Quebec's legislation respecting the conservation of wildlife, and Quebec's fishing regulations, to introduce the federal legislation on species at risk and give it overriding powers.

I do not object to the species at risk bill. I think that we do need such legislation. Canada must have such legislation. In fact, this government should even be criticized for the amount of time it has taken to pass such legislation.

However, could this bill not have been limited to areas of federal jurisdiction, namely Crown lands and areas involving migratory birds? If that had been the case, we would have supported it. This bill interferes with and duplicates what is being done in Quebec. We are entitled to want to re-examine the situation and we will use every means available in the House to block this legislation, which would interfere in areas of provincial jurisdiction.

In the last ten years, since 1991, Quebec has developed expertise that is envied throughout Canada. Quebec was the first province to pass legislation on endangered species in Canada. And today, the federal government is introducing a comparable bill that might override Quebec legislation.

We are willing to re-examine this bill if need be to stall for time. We are prepared to improve Quebec's legislation, of course, but we will never accept a federal government that acts as a political watchdog, when Quebec has democratically expressed itself by passing an act respecting endangered species at the National Assembly. This legislation was supported by members opposite. I remind the House that the member for Lac-Saint-Louis, who is on the other side of the House today, had this legislation passed in Quebec in 1991. He was Quebec's minister of the environment at the time when it was passed.

Today the Liberal members from Quebec are prepared to have a federal statute that will override legislation they themselves supported. This is nonsense. If Quebeckers and Canadians are to be able to trust the political system, politicians must be consistent. With respect to endangered species, this government, and in particular the members from Quebec, especially those who were members of the Bourassa government and who sponsored Quebec's endangered species legislation, have shown a flagrant lack of consistency.

There is a second reason why my colleagues and I will be supporting the Canadian Alliance amendment. Inevitably, both sides of the House will be engaging in an important debate on the endangered species legislation. I need hardly remind anyone that the Liberal caucus was divided on this issue, that they had more discussions about the endangered species legislation than we had in this Parliament. Some Liberal members did not accept the legislative measures of this government and of the Minister of the Environment.

There were negotiations within the Liberal caucus. This is a good reason why the Liberal members should support the Canadian Alliance motion—precisely so that the issue can be re-examined. Bill C-5 is no more acceptable to members on this side of the House than it is to certain members of the Liberal caucus, who lobbied all the way up to the Prime Minister's Office to have the endangered species bill scrapped.

On the contrary, these Liberal members should make sure that we take another look at this legislation, so that their legitimate wishes can be included in the new endangered species legislation that we would have an opportunity to look at together. But instead, these members have refused. Suddenly, they are completely in favour of the fait accompli. They have a golden opportunity to re-examine this bill and to have their legitimate wishes heard in committee and in the House, but they are passing it up. They still have time to reflect on this issue. They have time, because we are at debate stage and there will be a vote next week on the Canadian Alliance motion. I would like them to listen to what I am saying.

They have a golden opportunity to ensure that what they asked for, and will not be in the bill, can finally be included in the act.

The third reason why I will support the Canadian Alliance motion is that, as everyone knows, the issue of compensation remains totally vague in the bill. We do not know where we are headed, what financial compensation will be given to farmers, what impact the clauses will have on compensation, because all this will be covered by the regulations, which have yet to see the light of day. The government did not follow up on the findings of the Pearse commission and now it wants to ram the bill on Canada's endangered species through Parliament. This makes no sense.

The fundamental and critical aspect debated by members in this House is the issue of compensation to landowners. We had major debates that ended with this side of the House not getting real answers, because the government could not provide answers. The clauses of Bill C-5 were just too vague.

Today, we have another opportunity, thanks to the Canadian Alliance motion, to get some clarification on the bill. Who knows? Perhaps public officials worked on this issue during the summer. Perhaps we can get some clarification on the clauses dealing with compensation, and perhaps this clarification could not only be provided in the regulations but also in the clauses of the bill. So, this is the positive aspect of the motion before us today.

Therefore, there are three reasons that lead me to support the Canadian Alliance motion. There is, inevitably, the fact that Bill C-5 is a complete intrusion in provincial jurisdictions. Also, following the debate that took place within the Liberal caucus, this is an opportunity provided by the Canadian Alliance to the Liberal Party of Canada to amend the endangered species legislation, something the caucus of that party wanted.

But now, that same caucus is refusing to have this debate again. This speaks volumes about the ability of the members of the Liberal caucus to represent those who voted for them. Why do we have to re-examine Bill C-5? It is because the issue of compensation is not clear. Perhaps we will finally get some answers to our questions.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 1:45 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Madam Speaker, I need to respond to what this member said.

He said we ought not to ignore the work of committees. The House was in session and committees were struck. They were in place. There was as much need for this prorogation as there was for the election in the fall of 2000. It was redundant. Yet the government has called these things.

The member said he did a lot of work in committee and he did not want it to be lost. I recommend to him that if he does not want his work in committee to be lost, then he ought to listen to what the witnesses said. The committee heard witnesses who strongly urged amendments to Bill C-5, which we support and which ought to be done for the good of Canada. If he does not want to waste his time in committee, then let him listen to the witnesses, support the amendments that would correct and improve the bill, and then his time would not be wasted.

Instead, we hear the witnesses saying one thing and the government agenda coming in with something else. The government whips the vote in committee and forces everything through. It comes back to the House and we land up here in debate. We try to amend the legislation but those amendments are turned down. In the end we simply say that it is indeed a waste of time.

What we need to do in this particular place is to work hard in committees, we need to listen to the witnesses, and we need to ensure that our amendments reflect what the witnesses are telling us. The best example that I have is when I was on the finance committee. We had every witness, without exception, unanimously say that the security tax of $24 per round trip would kill small airports and small air service providers. Every witness who came to the committee said that. Yet what did the government do? It did it anyway. That is what I call a waste of committee time.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

Who knows? I know it is Friday. I can get away with a lot on Friday.

I will pass on the comments being made by my good friends on the other side because it may lead me into something that I would have to explain later.

When we reached prorogation in 1970, 1972, 1974 and 1986, the House adopted amendments to the Standing Orders to carry over legislation to the next session in 1977 and 1982. The House adopted reinstatement motions on division in 1991, 1996 and 1999. The 1996 motion included provision to reinstate private members' bills. I am concerned that private members' bills are being pushed off to the side when sometimes it is the only way private members on either side of the House can actually send a message to the government as to what concerns them and the people of their riding.

In 1997 a private member's bill was reinstated after dissolution. Standing Order 86.1 allows private members' bills to be reinstated. That order was adopted in 1999.

If we look at previous legislation in 1996 and 2000, Bill C-5 was introduced on February 2, 2001. At second reading, it had six hours of debate over five days then it was referred to the committee. Are we to bring that back and start all over again?

As much as I think closure should not be necessary, in this particular case I agree with it because I want these bills brought back.

I want all the work that has been done by committees, by members of the House, and the people that have come in as witnesses to be worthwhile. Are we to waste all their time and start all over again?

We have to consider that the environment committee held 42 meetings on Bill C-5, totalling over 90 hours. The committee heard from over 100 witnesses. Are we going to throw that out? Is that fair to over 100 witnesses? That is we are bringing it back.

Why would we spend 12 days of debate at report stage and third reading, and 50 hours of debate? Why would we throw that away as members of Parliament? What would be the advantage of taking all that valuable work done by members, committees, and all those witnesses brought in at great expense, and not bringing the bill back? Most of the witnesses were very sincere and wanted to have their evidence as part of the legislation that would be passed by the House.

The total time that was spent on Bill C-5 was 17 days of debate, 42 committee meetings, and 146 hours of debate in committee and the House. That amount of time cannot be thrown away.

I have great respect for the traditions of the House. I have worked as hard as anyone with my colleagues to improve the general pay scales, the insurance policies and all the things that affect members of Parliament. I have been fairly successful doing that and I feel good about it. I never made the headlines doing it which is even better. Every member of Parliament is benefiting from that hard work.

Members try to modernize Parliament and the way we act as members of Parliament. I accept that there are some things that I will never be able to change. I accept the fact that there are certain things that are out of my league or my prerogative. I recognize that. I have had a lot of help from opposition members. I have met with almost all opposition members one on one to ask them what improvements could be made to the House and the way we are treated as members of Parliament.

Most opposition members think the only way change can be made is if they become the government. That is never going to happen. We must deal with the people that are the government and try to make improvements. Forcing the government to introduce closure is not the way to go.

We should be meeting. Why has not one member of the opposition been brought forward as a committee member? There is no list from the opposition. It does not want the committees to meet. Why is that? Is there a reason why the opposition does not want committees to meet? I find this very difficult.

We are ready to begin. Our committee members are all in place. We would like to begin and then the opposition says no, it wants a secret ballot or something. How undemocratic that is for other members. The opposition wants to control the government, but it is not the government.

How do we best operate for the people of Canada? How do we give the people of Canada the best economy for their money? It is done by passing the legislation that the government was elected to pass.

I look at the traditions of the House and they should be followed. The traditions should be discussed and we should reaffirm our own personal respect for honoured traditions. Those traditions are shared by the government and the party with which I am a privileged member.

Respect for Parliament and its traditions has been demonstrated again and again over the last couple of years as the government has spearheaded a number of changes to the practices of the House in a methodical and carefully thought out manner yet mindful of and respecting past parliamentary privileges and practices.

This being the case, it should come as no surprise that the provisions contained in the motion also reflect and respect the best practices, the past practices and the traditions of the House. To illustrate this, let us look at the motion and how it corresponds to our past practices.

Under the motion, any minister who introduces a bill during the first 30 sitting days of a new session of Parliament in exactly the same form as a bill in the previous session, and which has been at least referred to a committee, would be able to request that the new bill be reinstated at the stage to which it had progressed at the time of prorogation. Does that not make perfect sense?

Should the Speaker be satisfied that the bill is in fact the same as the previous one, he or she could then order it reinstated at that stage. As members will no doubt recognize, this indeed is in accordance with the past practice of the House. All we are doing is carrying on the tried and true traditions of the House as has been carried out since Confederation.

In October 1999, when the second session of the 36th Parliament began, the House adopted a similar motion as the one before us today. In March 1996, when the second session of the 35th Parliament began, the House also adopted a similar motion. Previous Parliaments have adopted similar motions including one that passed under a previous government in 1991. Members all know who that was.

A number of other precedents exist for this motion as well. For example, page 330 of Marleau and Montpetit cites a number of precedents for the reinstatement of bills following a prorogation. In 1970, 1972, 1974, and 1986 the House gave unanimous consent to motions to reinstate bills. In 1977 and 1982 the House adopted amendments to the Standing Orders to carry over legislation to the next session.

Such a long string of precedents testifies to the long-standing practice in the House of allowing the reinstatement of bills at the same stage as the motion proposes. The procedure contained in the motion is almost identical to the Standing Orders for private members' bills. It leads us to the conclusion to reinstate private members' bills at the same stage. It must also be reasonable to follow the same procedure in the case of government bills.

Members should take note that the UK Parliament, from which our own parliamentary traditions flow, is considering amending its rules to allow government bills to carry-over from one session to the next.

What we are suggesting in the motion is not some piece of wild-eyed radicalism. It does not represent a revolutionary break with the past. Rather it is very much within our own parliamentary tradition and that of the mother of parliaments in the UK.

The motion is not just a good idea because it is based upon precedents, rather it represents a proposal which is logical and can stand on its own merits. It is clear that many of the bills which would be reinstated following passage of the motion are worthy of our most serious attention and worthy of being passed into law.

The passage of bills takes time. As a parliamentarian, one of the things that probably bothers me the most is the amount of time it takes to pass something. I know we must give it a lot of consideration and that we have to work on it very hard, but the government presents many bills during a session of Parliament and not all of these are tabled early in the session. Bills take a long time, a lot of thought, a lot of consultation, and a lot of development. Some are tabled very late and leave us with a rush at the end. We should not allow bills to die because of the timing of when they are introduced. We should look at what makes sense as parliamentarians.

Closure is being brought in so that the motion can be dealt with, so that we can allow many important bills and committee work to continue at the same stage of consideration at prorogation.

I spoke earlier of the hours and hours that committees put in. We all sit on committees and we all spend a lot of valuable time. I do not want my time to be wasted. I have spent a lot of time on committees and I have listened to a lot of witnesses. I would like to carry on with any legislation that is before that committee at the stage it was at just before prorogation.

For this reason, and many more I will be supporting the motion and I will be supporting the closure motion. I feel that it is our parliamentary duty to not waste a lot of time and money, and to get on with the business of the House, not talking about adjournment but talking about the business that we must do here.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 10:50 a.m.
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NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, first I want to say a word tangentially about the ruling of the Chair with respect to Motion No. 2 and welcome the judgment of the Chair with respect to this motion. It seems to me that the point of order the other day was certainly a good one. That has been recognized by the Chair in that we now have an opportunity to deal with elements of what was an omnibus motion in a more appropriate way by voting separately on two different dimensions of what remains of the motion, and of course, by having to have an entirely new motion with respect to the finance committee.

I listened to the government House leader who talked about the fact that it is quite common for there to be a motion like this before the House after prorogation by which legislation is reinstated in the new session at the stage it was at in the last session. I agree with the government House leader that this has certainly been common practice. However, he will have to accept that this time around that was not possible.

We have just seen from members of the official opposition that there were at least two bills which they were not willing to cooperate in reinstating, Bill C-5 and Bill C-15B. Although that is not the case with the NDP, we felt similarly about other legislation that would have been reinstated through this motion.

We were particularly concerned not to cooperate in the reinstatement of that legislation which proposed a new regime for first nations governance in this country. We do this out of agreement with the position of the leadership of first nations that what the government has in mind here is inappropriate and is being imposed on them in a way that gives the lie, if you like, to the notion of first nations governance. It is really just another amendment to the Indian Act imposed on the aboriginal community by the federal Government of Canada.

I indicated to the government House leader when he first proposed to me the idea of reinstating all the legislation in the rather easy way that we have done so before, that the NDP would not be able to cooperate in the way that we have in the past. I indicated that we would seek an opportunity to vote against reinstating all the legislation as the only way available to us to indicate our non-support for the reinstatement of the first nations governance legislation.

Of course, the members of the official opposition have chosen not to single out that piece of legislation for opposition. They have singled out other pieces of legislation: Bill C-5, the species at risk legislation; and Bill C-15B, which is the amendments to the Criminal Code having to do with cruelty to animals.

It seems to me that there is not a great need for the House to consume itself with this particular motion. We have had a remedy proposed by the Chair whereby we could vote separately on certain items.

Certainly we are in favour of reinstating the Special Committee on the Non-medical Use of Drugs. This is a committee that has done a lot of good work. We look forward to a Commons report as a complement to the report that has already come out of the Senate on a similar topic. We hope that after both these reports are available and have been studied by members and by the government that we might actually see some action on the part of the government with respect to the non-medical use of drugs, particularly with respect to the continuing inadequacies in the policy for the provision of medical marijuana, the need for some action with respect to the decriminalization of marijuana and whatever else the government has in mind.

It signalled in the throne speech that it is considering action in this direction. We would not want it to act until such time as the work of this committee was completed. We are happy to co-operate and vote for the motion which reinstates that committee.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 10:50 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, I will say to the member opposite as directly as I can that representing my constituents is not self-interest.

Let me go to the specific rancher who has 30,000 acres. That sounds like a lot of property to someone who comes from an urban environment. Thirty thousand acres of dry land. This is a specifically large ranch. On that ranch he is able to run one cow for 300 acres. It is a very dry ranch with not much feed. Someone comes along and says, “Society needs to protect the habitat that happens to be on your 30,000 acre ranch and it will mean taking out of production 4,500 acres”. Could it happen? It has happened. The impact on that ranch might make it economically impossible to operate.

I ask members opposite, should not Canadian society as a whole take the responsibility for that economic impact? As long as that rancher does not have the assurance that will take place, he will not support Bill C-5. It is profoundly important that he do support Bill C-5 for the advantages that I spoke of before, for the broad advantages of having diverse species. Until that happens, the bill will fail.

It does not matter how many times the Senate looks at it, this specific issue must be addressed by the Liberal government. I wish it were.

This raises the broader issue of property rights in this country that are not enshrined in our Constitution and should be. That is something the Alliance would be very quick to look at when we form the government.

I mentioned the issue that human activity has an impact on the environment. I noted that a couple of my colleagues who I consider to be very keen on the environment were nodding their heads when I said that. Let me give a couple of examples.

A delegation came to Parliament this week and showed that lamprey had a profound effect on the Great Lakes fishing environment. This was an imported species that came from the ocean. It was imported because of the canals that we had built as humans, from boats that we had brought in and the discharge of water. So here we have a species that was not normally in the Great Lakes.

That species, because there was no natural enemy, literally destroyed the wonderful fishery in our Great Lakes. We have taken action against the lamprey, we have actually found where they reproduce and had an impact there, and the fishery has returned. That is an example of human activity having a negative effect on the environment and then a positive effect.

I had an opportunity to be at a lecture by a scientist who looked at botanical indications of human activity. It is interesting to note that downwind of Toronto the lichens, the strange-looking crusty things that grow on trees, are almost non-existent. They do not end up flourishing until almost at Ottawa. It is a huge area downwind. Upwind of Toronto, the lichen population is very healthy. It is another indication of human activity having an impact on the environment.

There is a great interest in wild horses. People love the idea that horses have broken free of man and are roaming the wild. Wild horses are not natural to the environment in some places where they are involved. It is an emotional issue but human activity, releasing those horses into the wild, has had an impact on the environment.

If Bill C-5 had fair market compensation in it, this member of Parliament would have no disquiet whatever.

I am thankful for the opportunity to explain why I am not in favour of Motion No. 2 as it relates to reintroduction of Bill C-5 at the stage it was at.

I move:

That the motion be amended by adding after the words “prorogation of the previous session” the words “provided that Bills C-15B and C-5, introduced in the previous session, be excluded from this process”.

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

The House leader asks what that has to do with reinstatement. I am trying to explain to him why my party and I have disquiet about reinstating specific bills. I will move toward the specific bill that I personally want to focus on today and why I have disquiet toward that specific bill.

The re-introduction of Bill C-5, the species at risk bill at the stage where it is at gives me disquiet and, more important, gives my constituents disquiet. Effectively, prorogation results in that bill being stopped. My constituents say, “Please stop it where it is at. Please listen to our concerns about this bill.”

From the perspective of someone who loves the environment, species at risk is important. It is a broad societal goal. Diversity of species is important and is a broad societal goal. The trouble with this bill is that species at risk are not being looked after by society as a whole. They are being looked after by certain specific individuals. When I say looked after, I mean economically.

Genuine diversity has enormous benefit. I think of tourism. I think of people coming to visit our country specifically because of grizzlies in a wild state in our mountains. It is an indication of how man-made activity affects the planet. We can make a change in that regard. Man-made activity does affect the planet. We can have an impact in that regard.

I think of the success story of the whooping crane, a bird that Canadians decided to look after, to protect. It was almost extinct. What a wonderful success story that was; protecting them, finding out more information, tracking them, raising whooping cranes in a tame environment, releasing them to an external environment. We now have a population of whooping cranes that is much more likely to survive. For these reasons and more, I support protection of and action on species at risk and their habitat.

If this is a broad societal benefit, it should be paid for by society in the broadest sense. I believe that Bill C-5 will be a failure because society as a whole is not taking the responsibility. One group in our country will be asked to inordinately bear the burden. That group is the landowners.

I listened to the Prime Minister talk about establishing new national parks. I know that in some cases those new national parks are going to take in land where there was previously private interests, forestry interests. Forestry companies went in, explored, spent money putting in roads and had started to harvest timber. There is an economic interest in that area. What will the government do as it takes away those interests in establishing a brand new national park? It will extinguish that right of the timber company and it will pay for it. It will pay back the lumber company for that interest. What would happen in the instance of a species at risk where there was an economic interest? There is no provision for compensation.

I think of another example of a landowner who buys a property on a beautiful habitat by a river to build a senior citizens home. He goes to the architect, goes to the municipality, gets approval for all those things and is ready to build. Suddenly it is found that there is a special habitat in that area and the process cannot proceed. It is reasonable in my view if there is a societal benefit to protecting that habitat, to give that landowner fair compensation for the purchase of the property, the architectural design, the municipal process, and the time and effort expended in that process. In the bill there is no provision for that to take place.

In the bill there is no provision, and I will say this as plainly as I can so that everybody--

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government BillsGovernment Orders

October 4th, 2002 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

I am sure, then, that the people across the way, even the ones who are interrupting, must be in favour of modernization unless they are in favour of things being more Jurassic, but we will see.

The other purpose of course is to avoid wasting the time of members of the public who otherwise would have to return to the committees in order to present their briefs all over again.

Let me give a case in point: Bill C-15B. Over the last two days I have received 300 letters of support asking us to reinstate that bill. So let us see whether the people across the way take into account the views of Canadians. What about the environment, in which some people across say they are interested? What about getting Bill C-5, the species at risk bill from the last Parliament, back to the Senate and adopting it for the benefit of all Canadians? Also, of course, what about the taxpayers' money? Why repeat exactly the same debate and of course the committee hearings that already have taken place? But of course all that will be determined soon.

I should not generalize my statements by saying that all members across were against reinstatement. As a matter of fact, a number were quite cooperative and I want to pay tribute to them. Of course negotiations are held privately so I am not going to name individual political parties here, but a number of people had indicated their willingness to support it providing that there were concessions in the motion, many of which were put in, that were of benefit to both sides and so on. All of these things were taken care of very carefully. I do thank my very competent staff who assisted me in preparing all of this.

Now, about the procedure with bills. With adoption of this motion, which will be coming up shortly I trust—and could follow immediately on my speech if the hon. members opposite were in agreement—a minister introducing a bill exactly like a bill introduced in the last session, will, within the first 30 days of the new session, be able to make use of the right to ask that it be reinstated at the stage reached at the time of prorogation of the previous session, provided it had attained at least the stage of being referred to a committee.

It would seem to me that we could all agree on such a point. There is no crowd outside this morning protesting against this. If the Speaker deems it to be identical in form, the bill will be declared reinstated at the stage it had reached.

This procedure does not force a minister to reintroduce a bill. In other words, it is optional. It merely offers the possibility of doing so, within a given timeframe. After all, to be completely fair, parliamentarians are entitled to assume that, if a minister has not reintroduced his bill within a certain number of days, it is because that minister no longer wants to do so. That is why there is the 30-day deadline, a procedure that has been used for a long time.

When Parliament was prorogued, here is where we were at in connection with the government bills on the order paper: five had been passed by the House and were being examined in the Senate. For these, the House had already made its decision; the work was done. We have to respect the fact that this was the decision taken.

Four other bills had been referred to a standing House committee. Three more were awaiting second reading. Of course, for those that had reached second reading stage, we start all over again.

Consequently, according to the motion being moved, the five bills that had already gone through the House can to be reinstated and the Senate can begin immediately to deal with them. All of us want the Senate to be able to work as effectively and efficiently as the House. Moreover, the members opposite and the media have been known to say that the Senate does not do as much as the House. I do not agree, for the Senate does a good job. Be that as it may, the Senate could get down to work right away.

These bills include the one on species at risk, which I mentioned earlier, and the cruelty to animals bill. Speaking of the latter, I have received hundreds of letters about it. Maybe Canadians could phone their members this weekend, particularly the members of the Canadian Alliance, to tell them to stop dragging their feet on this issue, to move forward and resume work on it. We will see if they can.

It would be a real waste of time if parliamentarians had to repeat a debate that had already been finished, consultations that had already been done and votes that had already been taken. We agreed on that.

According to the my motion, the four bills that had been referred to committee could immediately be referred to the same committees for this session. In other words, if second reading had been completed, we would not do it again, because it had already been done. It is not really that complicated. As I mentioned, there are not many protesters outside this morning who are against this.

This group includes the bill to amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. I think that there are a number of us who support this. It was considered and referred to a parliamentary committee. Obviously, not everyone is happy with it. There are some who are complaining.

If the information I have is accurate, the committee had finished with its consultations on the bill, had heard from witnesses and was about to begin the clause-by-clause review. Why would we make Canadians from across the country come back to appear before a committee that had finished its work?

The other aspect of my motion this morning would make the evidence already given by Canadians available to committees, even though it was from the previous session and we have just begun a new session.

It also includes the bill on assisted human reproduction. Once again, this is an important issue, a very controversial one, of course—as we all know—but whatever one thinks of the specific details, Canadians and parliamentarians are nonetheless entitled to express their views on something this important.

These bills will of course be returned to the House for comprehensive debate at report stage and third reading. There will be recorded divisions at that time, if they are requested. Naturally, the rights of parliamentarians will be fully respected.

The motion I am moving will allow House committees to concentrate on new issues. Rather than doing the same work twice, we will do it once and concentrate on the work that has not been done, because we still have work ahead of us.

We on the government side have just proposed a very comprehensive agenda, including all sorts of good things for Canadians. We do not want to redo work already done. We want to move ahead, and there is much to do. The Prime Minister has laid out a very important agenda in the excellent Speech from the Throne read earlier this week.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

October 3rd, 2002 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to a motion on the Order Paper, Motion No. 2, in the name of the Minister of State and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

The motion contains four separate and distinct parts, each capable of standing on its own. I raise the matter because these four unrelated parts make it impossible for members to debate and cast their votes responsibly and intelligently.

The four separate parts deal with: first, reinstating evidence from the last session with regard to committee work; second, establishing and reinstating procedure for government bills; third, establishing a special committee on the non-medical use of drugs; and fourth, authorizing the Standing Committee on Finance to travel in relation to its pre-budget consultations.

In the throne speech the government announced that Bill C-5, species at risk, would be reinstated. My party is against the reinstatement of Bill C-5. Therefore I must oppose the motion.

However, there is another part of that motion that establishes the special committee on non-medical use of drugs. The committee is a result of a Canadian Alliance opposition motion that passed unanimously in the House in the first session, a motion sponsored by the member for Langley—Abbotsford. We are obviously not against that part of the motion. It is an important issue and I understand that the committee is ready to report when reconstituted. There is great interest in its findings.

Another part of the motion allows for the finance committee to travel for pre-budget consultations. Some members may be for this part or against it. Perhaps there may be a temptation for a member to include it in instructions to the committee or offer, through amendment, more details about its travels.

The motion also includes a separate section regarding the evidence of committees in the first session. Since every committee can decide that for themselves I am not sure why it is necessary to have this put to the House but perhaps we can listen to debate and discover the rationale for its inclusion.

On page 478 of Marleau and Montpetit it states:

When a complicated motion comes before the House. . .the Speaker has the authority to modify it and thereby facilitate decision-making for the House. When any Member objects to a motion that contains two or more distinct propositions, he or she may request that the motion be divided and that each proposition be debated and voted on separately.

At pages 427 to 431 of the Journals of 1964 there is a Speaker's ruling regarding the authority of the Chair to divide a motion. At page 431 the Speaker, after a lengthy historical report on the issue of dividing motions, concluded:

I must come to the conclusion that the motion before the House contains two propositions and since strong objections have been made to the effect that these two propositions should not be considered together, it is my duty to divide them--

In examining the nature of the two propositions from 1964 I have concluded that Motion No. 2 should be divided into four separate motions.

Another ruling you may want to consider, Mr. Speaker, is from April 10, 1991. The opposition objected to a government motion because it contained 64 separate proposals. The Speaker confirmed, at page 19312 of Hansard from April 10, 1991, that “the Speaker has the authority to divide complicated questions”.

We argue that Motion No. 2 be divided into four separate motions because the motion does four different things with two decisions associated with yea or nay. For example, a member may agree with one and be against two, three and four, or agree with one and two and disagree with three and four, or agree with two and be against one, three and four, et cetera.

The potential number of outcomes is 16. We would need to allow 16 different amendments to deal with various deletion combinations to solve the problem. Further, the issue of amending the different parts of the motion to make it more suitable or to offer an alternative adds to the dilemma. The number of amendments necessary to solve the problem is astronomical. It is clear that Motion No. 2 in its present form is out of order and unacceptable.

The items contained in it require separate votes, separate amendments and separate debate to solicit support for those amendments to convince members to vote for or against. Of course, the government forgets that Parliament is about debate.

It might help the Chair and the public watching to get an understanding as to why this motion is before the House and why it is before the House in this unusual form.

The government is once again attempting to manipulate the rules of Parliament to abuse the rights of all members because of its deep divisions in the Liberal Party. It is clear that this manoeuvre would avoid potential prime ministerial embarrassment of having Liberal backbenchers voting against the reinstatement of Bill C-5 and Bill C-15B by lumping into one package the important issue of non-medical use of drugs and prebudget consultation with Bill C-5 and Bill C-15B. The Prime Minister is gambling that Liberal backbenchers will hold their noses and vote for the whole package rather than see the work of the special committee on the non-medical use of drugs be for naught and scuttle prebudget consultations.

If this motion is allowed to stand as is, members will be forced to vote for the reinstatement of Bill C-5 and Bill C-15B to ensure prebudget consultations and to save the good work of the special committee. This motion is wrong procedurally and is wrong ethically.

The original motion proposed to House leaders had in it a part that replaced the lost supply day. The supply day was lost because the government decided to prorogue which extended the summer break by two weeks. It was not the opposition decision so it made sense to give that supply day back.

Perhaps we could separate the reinstatement part from the rest of the items, put back the part about the additional supply day and then we could avoid debating all four motions separately. That would be the sensible thing.