Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in the debate suggested by my colleague from South Surrey—White Rock—Langley on Bill C-280 to amend the Criminal Code, particularly concerning the selling of wildlife.
My colleague from the Canadian Alliance had already tried to have this amendment made to the Criminal Code in the last legislature. At the time, my colleague from Châteauguay firmly opposed this legislative measure.
His reasoning and particularly the relevance of his argument still hold today, since there has been no amendment to the legislative measure.
Indeed, the bill re-introduced by the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Langley still contains the same irritants that justified the opposition of the Bloc Quebecois to Bill C-292 on May 9.
Let us remind the House that, despite what she said earlier in her speech, the bill before us is a typical example of the federal government intruding into provincial jurisdictions. This is a situation that we have seen too often in the past and that we are still seeing today with this bill.
While the sponsor of this bill still insists that the intent is not to replace provincial wildlife laws but rather to complement them, this does not change anything. It is surprising to see a member of the Canadian Alliance ask the federal government to get involved in an issue that concerns the provinces, when in their speeches, the members of her party are such articulate advocates of a decentralized Canadian federation.
Besides, the hon. member from the Canadian Alliance is talking about Kyoto. This is a different debate altogether. I will touch on the issue anyway. The implementation plan for Kyoto has yet to be released. We advocate a very ecological vision of society. That having been said, it seems to me that any attempt to draw a parallel between the debate on Kyoto and today's debate is lopsided and somewhat offensive.
The purpose of Bill C-280 is to make the selling of wildlife and wildlife parts an offence, unless carried out under a licence or permit issued by a competent authority.
Simply put, the purpose of this bill is to prohibit the trading of wildlife, dead or alive, to afford it some protection against unscrupulous individuals who abuse the credulity of people by painting an enticing picture of the aphrodisiac qualities of certain animal parts, raising certain species in inappropriate conditions or simply selling their meat clandestinely.
The basis for the legislative measure put forward by our hon. colleague is noble and reflects her commitment to the conservation of nature, and wildlife in particular. This is something I applaud.
However, we must recognize that the bill she is proposing is only filling a legal vacuum left by a number of provinces in Canada.
As the hon. members know, I am sure, Quebec already has very comprehensive, and also very effective, legislation in this regard. Under the act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife, anything that directly or indirectly concerns the purchase of wildlife is covered by chapter C-61.1. The Government of Quebec has already provided a legal framework for the protection of wildlife, and this initiative was recognized on many occasions in the past.
The Bloc Quebecois' position basically falls within the same ideological spectrum. Moreover, we are taking into consideration the constitutional distribution of jurisdictions between the provinces and the federal government.
The member from the Alliance wants federal legislation that can be implemented throughout Canada. This reasoning does not work.
First, she wants the federal government to intrude in an area outside its jurisdiction. She also wants the federal government to do the work that some provinces have neglected to do in their own legislative sphere.
I am sure no one will be surprised to learn that Quebec has once again taken the lead on this issue.
The penalties proposed by the member are almost the same as the ones stipulated in the Quebec legislation. In Quebec, we have fines ranging from $500 up to $16,400. We also have jail terms of up to one year. We even have administrative penalties causing the suspension of licences for up to six years.
Before I conclude, I repeat that the Bloc Quebecois is against Bill C-280. In fact, it reminds me of the heated debates led by our party against Bill C-5, the Liberal government's bill on endangered species.
I do not understand why the Canadian Alliance would want to give the federal government another opportunity to infringe upon an area of provincial jurisdiction. Not only does this boggle the mind, but it is the complete reverse of the general policies usually developed at their conventions.
Provinces that have not had the fortitude or determination to legislate in this area only have themselves to blame. Quebec took its responsibilities a long time ago. The other provinces should do the same.
Using tools such as the Criminal Code to make up for provincial legislative shortcomings is contrary to the spirit of the Criminal Code. Moreover, it somehow absolves the provinces of their responsibilities by allowing these pernicious intrusions by the federal government into areas of provincial jurisdiction.