Mr. Speaker, it would be appropriate if I first expressed myself in my first language, otherwise it is hard to say what I have to say.
I beg forgiveness from the species that we have threatened by our large egos as human beings, by our greed to sustain ourselves and to sustain ourselves beyond what we really need to sustain life on the planet. I beg forgiveness from the mammals, the four-leggeds, the ones that have wings, the ones that swim and the ones that crawl. I beg forgiveness from all plants and life on the planet Earth. I beg forgiveness because without consciousness the bill would not be. If we had not done what we have done until now, we would not require Bill C-5. We have done great damage to ourselves.
This beautiful planet comes under the jurisdiction of the law in Canada. If we were to measure the history of Canada on a yardstick, there is a measured history here of 35,000 years and even beyond. Our extirpation of animals has occurred in the last few decades. The impact has been done by ourselves and we have to correct it somehow.
I look at Bill C-5 as a vessel for future decisions to be made on the inevitable problems we will have. In the journey we have as a young country, Bill C-5 is finally a commitment that our country has made to the world.
The United Nations convention on biodiversity challenged Canada to come up with legislation that says we will protect endangered species at risk. This is what we have done.
We are debating a group of amendments on stewardship action plans. The main crux of it is clause 10, how to do it. The Canadian conservation council is created by the bill. Thirteen territorial ministers and three federal ministers, they being heritage, fisheries and environment, would make up the Canadian conservation council. These decision makers will be making recovery strategies and action plans. They will be implementing them in many regions, in the provinces and under federal jurisdiction.
Thanks to the work of the standing committee and the work in large part by ourselves in the House of Commons, we have included the aboriginal people. We have created a national aboriginal council on endangered species. It completes the circle because we will have to work at this together. It calls on all of us to exercise our responsibilities to take care of the species.
Sure, our rights have to be protected but we have to exercise our responsibilities. We must exercise our responsibilities in a co-operative manner. It has been highlighted that the provinces, the federal ministries and the aboriginal jurisdiction are all very much part of the discussion.
The landowners, land users, farmers, trappers, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, people who live off the land, tourists, outfitters, miners and loggers, all these people will have to look at a proper way of dealing with endangered species.
We have a framework and vessel that we can use. Our children will be able to use this legislation to protect themselves in the future. A proper dialogue is being created. Federal-provincial disputes can be clarified at the Canadian conservation council. If there are disputes involving aboriginal, federal and provincial jurisdictions, the aboriginal council will speak to these issues and sort them out before legal challenges take place.
This is what I speak about regarding Bill C-5, that this co-operative manner will succeed. I have faith that the bill will proceed to an honourable end. We will have opportunities to correct it. We are a young country as was mentioned. This is the first time this law will come into place. Once it passes, there will be opportunities to review it and change it in the future.
The other challenge I would like to put forward is not necessarily to the House. The bill will create a national aboriginal council. I beg that when the six representatives are chosen for the national aboriginal council that they be chosen by region. We must protect all regions of the country. If we were to do it by political jurisdiction and demographics, the cities and the southern jurisdiction would make the decisions on strategies and action plans for the country.
Let us dissect our country into six regions which could represent the river regions. The St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast could be represented. The Hudson Bay watershed, the old romanticized Rupert's Land region, could be represented. The Mackenzie River that flows to the north, and the north and south Saskatchewan rivers that flow into Lake Winnipeg could be represented. The Pacific watershed that flows into the west and the Arctic waters in the coastal region of the north could be represented. Those are the regions that could be represented on the national aboriginal council.
Not only would aboriginal people take their grievances to the council, but any landowners such as farmers and ranchers could take their grievances to the council as well. The council could be a consciousness of our people and of our species.
The relationship we have is very critical because we are bound by consciousness. We can make the changes here as human beings. We as parliamentarians, as decision makers, can make the decisions when it comes to law, but when it comes to action plans and strategies, let us depend upon the Canadian endangered species conservation council. The 13 provincial and territorial ministers, the three federal ministers and the six aboriginal representatives can sort out how we make our decisions in the future.
A very scary comment was made by one of the members opposite. It was in the context of hoping that one species would be gone. I would say let us humble ourselves from having the power to say let us wipe out a species off the planet. All of these gifts we have been given on mother earth are for a purpose. They are tests. If we do not pass these tests, we will fail and the generations to come will pay. Sure, a deer mouse tests us because of the illness it gives us, but it may wake us up to a bigger mistake that we are making. Let us humbly respect all species on the planet.
I close by giving thanks to the aboriginal working group and its co-chairs for their foresight in bringing these issues forward. I thank the Minister of the Environment and his staff for making this possible. I also thank all the leaders of the national aboriginal organizations who contributed toward making the necessary amendments that I had put forward.
I thank the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. It has done well. Also, all the members opposite and on the government side have done well in bringing these issues forward. For making this debate possible, I thank our leader the Prime Minister for seeing the bill as a priority for us to deal with before we rise. It is very appropriate that we handle it now.