An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act

This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.

Sponsor

Jean Lapierre  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment transfers powers, duties and functions from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to the Minister of Transport.

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.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2004 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your appointment.

I am pleased to rise today to address the House about the importance of Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act, that has been tabled by my colleague, the Minister of Transport.

The bill reflects the government's initiative to reform the ways of promoting safety on the waterways and protection of the marine environment. In the past, responsibility for policy relating to marine safety and the protection of the marine environment has been divided between the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Transport.

The government has now consolidated the rule making responsibility under a single department to furnish stakeholders with a single point of contact for policy issues related to marine safety. This will make the marine regulatory framework more responsive, coherent and consistent. It will also free the Canadian Coast Guard to focus on its operational mission, including search and rescue.

This machinery of government bill is nonetheless an important piece of legislation because of its benefits for the shipping industry and marine activities as well as marine transport.

I would like to provide some statistics. Canada is home to the largest inland waterway open to ocean shipping. Every year over 40 million passengers and 17 million vehicles travel by ship in Canada representing over 15% of worldwide ferry traffic. Marine is the dominant mode of overseas trade with annual shipments in excess of $100 billion. Over 75,000 small commercial vessels ply our waters. The Canadian marine transportation sector directly employs more than 25,000 people. The number of Canadians who take advantage of our waterways for recreational purposes is estimated at around 8 million and they do so in 2.5 million pleasure vessels.

This large scale economic and recreational activity is generally conducted in a way that is safe, efficient and environmentally friendly. Shipping uses less fuel per tonne of cargo than does any other mode of transportation. Hence the great importance in the marine sector of a transparent and predictable regulatory system that accomplishes public policy objectives efficiently while eliminating unintended impacts, to use the language of the Speech from the Throne. A regulatory system must be securely founded on clear laws.

To quote again from the Speech from the Throne, “Smart government also includes providing an up-to-date legislative framework for business”. Although technical in form the bill would improve the way government does business. Rule making would be better coordinated and more accessible to Canadians meaning better protection for seafarers, the public and the marine environment, as well as clear rules and processes to promote a competitive marine transportation sector.

I would like to reaffirm my support for Bill C-3 as tabled by my colleague today.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2004 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity today to speak briefly to Bill C-3. I want to indicate at the outset that the NDP is prepared to support the bill in principle. In our view it is the proper thing for us to be referring it to committee where it is extremely important that it be given careful consideration.

It is not a bill that contains a lot of new initiatives. It appears on the fold, by and large, to be a reorganizational effort of government, one that, on the face of it, seems to be quite supportable. We believe it is important for it to be carefully analysed at committee, and my colleague, the NDP transport critic, the hard-working member for Churchill, will no doubt be her usual detailed self in applying careful scrutiny to the bill at the committee level.

We are essentially dealing with an omnibus bill, one that effectively reverses most of the changes that were made to the Departments of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport in by the Liberals in 1994. I think we are all attempting to look forward and not waste a lot of time in the House by beating up on the government for its sins and omissions in the last 10 years.

I do not disagree for a moment with the comments made by other members that one of the true fiascos in the mandate of the government over the last decade was the mishandling of the coast guard. There clearly have been serious concerns created by the erosion of the capacity of the coast guard and by the problems created around where the coast guard's mandate kicks in and where Fisheries leaves off. As a result, there have been problems with overlap and with severe gaps. Generally, the role of the coast guard has not been possible to discharge even by the hard-working men and women who are employed to carry out the coast guard's responsibilities.

It is welcomed. We see the government facing up to some of the problems that have been created. However, it remains to be seen whether in the reorganization we will see the kind of effective enforcement around marine safety, environmental protection, pollution control and so on, which is extremely important. It will be very important to ensure that these functions are discharged in a competent and effective way.

I want to go directly to what is actually the smallest part of the bill. I want to do so for a couple of reasons. I refer specifically to the reference to Sable Island. I will quickly refer to the bill itself, a tiny element in the bill, subsection 136(2) which reads:

The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, make regulations

(a) respecting the administration and control of Sable Island;

(b) specifying classes of persons, or appointing persons, to ensure compliance with regulations made under paragraph (a) and specifying their powers and duties; and

(c) respecting maritime search and rescue.

I take the opportunity this afternoon to hone in on that aspect of the bill for a couple of reasons. One is that it is a little known fact, but I have the privilege of representing Sable Island as part of the Halifax constituency. It does not seem particularly logical on the face of it. When we look at the map, it is not exactly immediately adjacent to Halifax.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2004 / 12:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Thus, Mr. Speaker, the lines of accountability will be clearer and the Coast Guard's programs cannot be trumped by some other agency's priorities.

The committee also pointed out that the organization is understaffed, and I quote:

Its officers are overworked, stressed and demoralized. The Coast Guard requires the human and physical resources, ships, manpower, modern technology, and funding to do the job. The probability that the Coast Guard will get these resources within DFO, which has its own financial pressures and a different set of priorities, is, in our view, minuscule.

Finally, the Coast Guard does not play an important role in security. The Committee believes that, in addition to its traditional responsibilities, the Coast Guard should have its mandate expanded to include coastal security.The committee therefore concluded that the Canadian Coast Guard should be a stand-alone federal agency reporting directly to the minister responsible.

We think the recommendations in the unanimous report dated March 2004 should be implemented. The Bloc Quebecois wants therefore to see a renewed Coast Guard established as an independent civilian federal agency.

We also recommend that the Canadian Coast Guard be governed by a new Canadian Coast Guard Act, which would set out the roles and responsibilities of the Coast Guard. These would include: search and rescue; emergency environmental response; a lead role among the several federal departments involved in marine pollution prevention.

We believe that the Canadian Coast Guard be given full operational funding sufficient to carry out its existing roles as well as the expanded mandate and additional responsibilities recommended in the report of the standing committee.

We also call on the federal government to make an immediate commitment to provide the Canadian Coast Guard with an injection of capital funding to pay for fleet renewal, upgraded and modernized shore-based infrastructure and the implementation of new technology.

For all these reasons, the Bloc Quebecois cannot support Bill C-3. We believe that the only solution here is the establishment of an independent agency as recommended in the unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2004 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of my party with respect to Bill C-3. The bill makes a number of changes. It transfers some responsibility from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the Minister of Transport.

When I first heard the content of the bill, my initial impression was that these matters already were within the purview of the Minister of Transport. On further investigation I had been led to believe that at one point these matters were part of the responsibility of the Minister of Transport. There were a number of decisions made over the years, and I believe that in 1995 some changes were made.

We heard the parliamentary secretary indicate that in 2001 there were a number of changes that gave responsibilities to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Now the bill changes them back to the Minister of Transport where it should have been in the first place.

We are acknowledging that a mistake was made in transferring these areas of responsibility and the bill corrects the mistakes that were made in the last few years by the Liberal government.

I wish all the mistakes that the government has made could be so easily corrected and with so few consequences. There probably would be unanimous support if we could have a bill that would nullify the sponsorship program for instance. Think of the hundreds of millions of dollars that we could have saved Canadians if that mistake could be corrected. However we are not able to do that at this point.

The bill allows the Canadian Coast Guard to focus on its operational mission. Anything that allows it to get on with that mission is certainly something I would support. Our discussion could be that a minor mistake was made in transferring this responsibility to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but the mistake has been corrected.

I bet there are many in the Canadian Coast Guard who would agree with me that a much more grievous mistake was the decision to cancel the replacement for the Sea King helicopters. That was a huge mistake. We can only surmise how much better off all of us would be today, including those who protect the country's coastlines and are involved in the security of the country if that mistake had not been perpetrated on our armed forces and the Canadian public.

In any case, we look forward to the bill moving on to committee. There are some good aspects in it. The briefing notes put out by the Department of Transport said that if we did this, the Canadian Coast Guard would be able to focus on its operational mission. We would certainly welcome that.

Certain parts of the Canadian coastline, which could be referred to as the south coast of Canada, are in my riding of Niagara Falls. We welcome any enhancement of Coast Guard activities for search and rescue and security. All of these things would be very welcome.

I am particularly pleased to see some improvement in the ability of the Coast Guard to get back to its operational mission because I believe that while we may consider this a minor mistake, there are other mistakes that have been made with respect to the Canadian Coast Guard.

I will relate to the House a discussion which took place in my former capacity as a regional councillor for the region of Niagara. As all levels of government must do, we were going through a budgetary process.

One of the interesting items in that budgetary process was the amount of money being spent by the Niagara regional police. Border security and surveillance were a considerable part of the budget of the Niagara regional police. As soon as I saw it I said that one does not have to be a constitutional expert to know that these matters of international importance and security and securing our border are the responsibility of the federal government. That is very clear.

It was a legitimate question for me to ask even though the Niagara regional police were not complaining about it. They do an excellent job in everything they do, but I had to ask the question. I said that there were federal government agencies that were supposed to do this. The bottom line was, and it did not come from the Niagara regional police because they were too diplomatic, the money was not being spent by the federal government. Despite security taxes and all the difficulties the world has seen over the last few years, the money is not being spent.

Therefore, when I see a bill like this one, I am happy that some consideration is being given to the Coast Guard to free it up to get on with its operational mission. We welcome that. However, I have to go back again and ask why the government has not done that. There is a long tradition of the Niagara regional police taking it upon themselves, picking up the slack and worrying about national security.

Earlier today there were a number of references to the important Privy Council decision that was initiated by five Canadian women that was such a landmark for Canadian women. As I was gathering my thoughts about speaking to this bill, I thought of a Canadian heroine from the Niagara area, Laura Secord.

Laura Secord was a resident of the village of Queenston. She was not a part of the military; she was a civilian. She was like many people in Niagara and so many Canadians. It came to her attention on an afternoon when the Americans had taken over her home that there would be an imminent attack on the British forces. She walked 18 miles from Queenston to Beaver Dams to warn the British that an attack was imminent. I thought, this is a part of our long tradition.

The Niagara regional police in having to worry about and spend money on international security and do the job of the federal government is just part of a long tradition that we have had in that area. It goes back to people like Laura Secord. It goes back to Butler's Rangers who were located in my riding.

Part of my riding now includes the town of Fort Erie. There is a great incident in Canadian history, just before Confederation. Several hundred misguided fools under the name of the Fenians crossed the border from Buffalo into Fort Erie. The first people to meet them were not British regular forces. There were not the Canadian militia. They were a group of farmers from the Niagara area who first met them at Ridgeway. That became the battle of Ridgeway. They stepped into the breach to make sure that our country was protected.

I cannot leave the subject without mentioning the great work of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment and all that it has done to secure our country.

When I look at what is going on with the Coast Guard, the federal government has made a great move here. It has helped the Canadian Coast Guard by taking away some responsibilities and admitting that a mistake was made in the last decade. The government needs to do something more for the Canadian Coast Guard. Give it the tools it needs. It should not be depending on the property taxpayers of the Niagara region for jobs in the area of security and search and rescue that are more properly under the purview of the federal government.

I am pleased to have made these few comments. I welcome this bill. I welcome the government's admission to its mistakes. We are very interested in consensus. It can bring in bills. We will probably be very busy this session if the government brings in bills to correct the mistakes that have been made in the last 10 years. The government can bring them forward and it will find that all parties will welcome correcting that which has been done in the past.

I certainly look forward to the bill going to the transport committee. I and other members of that committee can decide on the witnesses we would like to have. I look forward to the bill proceeding through parliament.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2004 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the consultation that took place we reached out to all stakeholders. We continue to do so through the transport committee. We are looking forward to working not only with the marine stakeholders but with all members of this House and all people concerned in order to make sure that we have a seamless opportunity for Bill C-3 to go forward.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2004 / 12:25 p.m.
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Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present the House with Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act.

Under the auspices of securing Canada's public health and safety, the Prime Minister announced on December 12, 2003, that the government would be:

rationalizing responsibility for marine safety and security policy under the Minister of Transport to consolidate responsibility for security in all transportation sectors and creating the Coast Guard as a special operating agency in the Fisheries and Oceans department.

On the same day, the governor in council transferred certain parts of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the Department of Transport. Specifically, all Canadian Coast Guard policy responsibilities and certain operational responsibilities relating to pleasure craft safety, marine navigation services, pollution prevention and response, and navigable waters protection were transferred to Transport Canada. This step was taken to provide Canadians with a single point of contact for policy issues associated with marine safety and security.

The policy responsibilities transferred to Transport Canada include the development and management of legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines. Certain operational and program responsibilities associated with these policy responsibilities have been transferred to Transport Canada, including, among others, boating safety promotion and awareness programs.

On March 29, 2004, an additional order in council clarified the original transfer of authorities on December 12, 2003.

In response to this announcement, Bill C-3 is a “machinery of government bill” that is essential to carry out the cabinet's decision as it relates to marine safety and security policy.

In order to add greater certainty to this transfer of authorities, amendments to certain provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act are being proposed in Bill C-3.

The amendments in this bill only transfer to the Minister of Transport roles and responsibilities that would otherwise have been with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The content of the statutes affected by Bill C-3 remains otherwise unchanged and, as such, this bill is considered to be policy neutral. Therefore, there should be no considerations of significance for stakeholders, the environment or international relations.

As previously mentioned, the bill contains proposed amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act relating to ministerial roles and responsibilities.

At the present time, the Canada Shipping Act confers responsibilities on the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Canada Shipping Act, 2001, also confers responsibilities on the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The CSA 2001 will replace the Canada Shipping Act when it enters into force, which is expected to be in late 2006.

The Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act confers responsibilities on the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Oceans Act confers responsibilities on the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. In the past, responsibility for policy relating to marine safety and the protection of the marine environment has been divided between the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Transport. The transfer of responsibilities on December 12, 2003, makes Transport Canada responsible for marine policy and allows the Coast Guard to focus on marine operations.

It is important to note that the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, was drafted to draw as clear a distinction as possible between the responsibilities of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Transport in each part of the act, as the separation of responsibilities has consistently been problematic for both government and stakeholders.

The transfer of authorities in Bill C-3 centralizes the administration of marine safety with Transport Canada and provides the department with the opportunity to become the one-stop shop for marine safety policy and regulations. This consolidation of responsibilities is expected to improve efficiency in both marine policy and operations.

For example, uniting pleasure and commercial vessel safety requirements will promote the harmonization of such requirements. In the area of oil pollution prevention and response, these amendments will reduce the complexity of responsibilities for prevention and response for both shore facilities and vessels.

As previously mentioned, the logic of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, as drafted, contemplated implementation by two different departments. It conferred different competencies on the respective ministries and departments and enacted different implementation procedures. Transport Canada will now have implementation authority relating to both recreational and commercial vessels.

In conclusion, Bill C-3 has been drafted in response to the announcement on December 12, 2003, so as to: clarify each department's responsibilities resulting from the transfer; consolidate policy responsibility for all aspects of marine safety in one federal organization; improve the responsiveness, coherence and consistency of the marine regulatory framework for Canadians; enhance service delivery in these matters for all stakeholders; ensure that roles and responsibilities of the government remain the same, in whatever department they may be found; preserve the authority of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to carry out the operational role assigned to it by the orders in council; ensure that the powers, duties and functions transferred from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to the Minister of Transport are unambiguous in order to prevent litigation or any contentious issues; and preserve the logic and coherence of the relevant statutes.

Transport Canada's legislative initiatives remain consistent with the overall federal transportation framework, which emphasizes a national vision of safety, security, efficiency and environmental responsibility. The changes introduced in Bill C-3 are changes that marine stakeholders have requested and that are welcomed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Transport.

In order to effect the transfer of authorities on December 12, 2003, from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the Department of Transport, certain provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act require amendments.

Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act, contains the necessary amendments to the statutes. I welcome support for this bill.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

October 15th, 2004 / 12:25 p.m.
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Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Liberalfor the Minister of Transport

moved that Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness ActGovernment Orders

October 14th, 2004 / 5:15 p.m.
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Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to engage my colleague on this important issue.

He brought forth some points that we as a government have recognized and are working very fast to ensure that the black holes, the potholes that need to be fixed are fixed. That is why the Prime Minister, in his mandate in the past 10 months, has been working very hard with all parties, with due concern, to ensure we will fulfill the needs of Canadians. However, he touched on a couple of points on the transport issue such as the Coast Guard going back to transport, which is Bill C-3. When we discuss and debate the bill tomorrow, I welcome the opportunity for him to be here to make his comments because he has a lot to add.

However, I want to go back to what he said about us mirroring the homeland security in the United States. Homeland security in the United States has encompassed immigration, or INS. Right now the border security guards, or the old immigration INS, are a part of another department, homeland security. In Canada we have not done that. We have left immigration on its own.

I think my colleague across the way will agree with me that we have taken an important step to ensure that the fabric of Canada, our multicultural diversity or tapestry, is still welcomed and protected and that we are not encouraging people, as it is under the homeland security in the United States, to become a melting pot. Citizenship and immigration should remain where it is.

I remember back in 1993 when the then Conservative Party, under the then prime minister, Kim Campbell, came up with the idea of a national security or homeland security. At that time they put immigration under the RCMP, the Solicitor General and the whole nine yards.

Would my colleague across the way agree with me that we should leave immigration and citizenship where it is, or does he foresee us moving it into homeland security as the Americans have done?

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

October 14th, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.
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Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the minister will table the document at the first available opportunity.

With respect to the business going forward, this afternoon, tomorrow and Monday, we will continue with second reading of Bill C-5, which is on learning bonds, followed by second reading of Bill C-6, which is establishing the department of public safety; second reading of Bill C-3 which is the Coast Guard bill; second reading of Bill C-7 respecting national parks; second reading of Bill C-8 creating the public service human resources agency; and second reading of Bill C-4, which is the international air protocol bill.

There will, as the House knows, be divisions at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be the last two days of debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, and Thursday will be an allotted day.

Canada Shipping ActRoutine Proceedings

October 8th, 2004 / 12:05 p.m.
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Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act.

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