This page is in the midst of a redesign. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act

An Act to enact the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act, to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Lisa Raitt  Conservative

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.

Part 1 enacts the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act, which authorizes the Minister of Transport to undertake to indemnify certain aviation industry participants for loss, damage or liability caused by events that are commonly referred to in the insurance industry as “war risks”. The Minister may undertake to indemnify all aviation industry participants, or may specify that an undertaking applies only to specific participants or classes of participant or applies only in specific circumstances. The Act also requires that the Minister, at least once every two years, assess whether it is feasible for aviation industry participants to obtain insurance coverage for events or other similar coverage, and that the Minister report regularly to Parliament on his or her activities under the Act. Part 1 also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 2 amends the Aeronautics Act to provide certain persons with powers to investigate aviation accidents or incidents involving civilians and aircraft or aeronautical installations operated by or on behalf of the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Forces or a visiting force. It also establishes privilege in respect of on-board recordings, communication records and certain statements, and permits, among other things, access to an on-board recording if certain criteria are met. Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 3 amends the Canada Marine Act in relation to the effective day of the appointment of a director of a port authority.

Part 4 amends the Marine Liability Act to implement the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 2010. Among other things, it gives force of law to many provisions of the Convention, clarifies the liability of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund with respect to the Convention and confers powers, duties and functions on the Fund’s Administrator.

Part 5 amends the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 to introduce new requirements for operators of oil handling facilities, including the requirement to notify the Minister of their operations and to submit plans to the Minister. It extends civil and criminal immunity to the agents or mandataries of response organizations engaged in response operations. It also introduces new enforcement measures for Part 8 of the Act, including by applying the administrative monetary penalties regime contained in Part 11 of that Act to Part 8.

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.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, one of the issues is that, when we adjourn debates, quite often what ends up happening is that we are in a situation where we will have the start of second reading on a particular bill only to find out that we might not actually have the continuation of that debate for weeks or months.

This is one of the problems in terms of the whole issue. I have talked about this in the past. I will just talk a little about the process. We do need to have more co-operation amongst parties inside the chamber. That would allow for a more even flow of the legislative agenda.

Then if we had a priority bill, it would be brought back within a few days, as opposed to having to wait for months. I think that is what has happened with this particular bill. The bill was brought in, and I do not have the actual date in front of me but if I were to speculate, my best guesstimate would be that it was likely several months ago when it was before the House. Then we find ourselves in the situation we are in today.

In my opening comments, if I were to give a little reflection, members would find that the principle of a bill is something in which it is always good to get more of the details. One of the advantages of the bill going to committee is the fact that we will do just that, going through the bill, listening to different stakeholders and the input they might have to provide. On any piece of legislation that would be very advantageous.

If I could provide a bit more specific information, what we are seeing in this bill is a piecemeal approach, or what we might even describe as an incoherent approach to the transportation safety policy in Canada.

When I hear about transportation safety in Canada, there is an endless number of examples and thoughts that come to mind. All I have to do is just talk about train transportation and the huge need and desire that Canadians have to deal with transportation safety, in particular with our railways.

Small things are trickling out in dribs and drabs from the government, without any comprehensive approach to transportation safety in the country to deal with many important issues. Even though I made reference to train transportation, it is important that we recognize, as this bill does, marine transportation and passenger safety, which goes beyond that.

We can look at how much Canada as a country has become urbanized. It has many train hubs, and with respect to Winnipeg, it is the CN yards out in the Symington area or the Transcona area or in my own back yard with the CP Rail expansion that has been taking place.

More and more, the quantity of goods actually being transported from coast to coast to coast using the rail lines—and the product that is in those trains and tankers—is going through major suburban and inner-city areas, all over our country.

It should be no surprise that Canadians are growing more and more concerned about the content of our trains as they go through municipalities. More specifically, what is the government actually doing to protect our communities? We are just hearing dribs and drabs.

We have a government that seems to want to react as opposed to being proactive in dealing with issues related to safety. I believe the government has a lacklustre attitude in terms of trying to provide strong and improved regulations, which would go a long way in making our communities safer.

There is an opportunity here to come up with a more coherent and comprehensive approach. To that extent, I would ask the government, particularly the minister responsible, to what degree they have consulted with the many different stakeholders.

Of course, we have the standard stakeholders within certain industries, whether it be the marine community or rail transportation. However, we should be taking into consideration the provinces, which have regulations within their provincial jurisdictions. We should be seeing what municipalities have to say. We will find throughout Canada that there are many progressive stakeholders who, if afforded the opportunity to provide direct input into the development of legislation, would be more than happy to do so. This is something I would suggest the government has not been very successful at. It is one of the reasons I believe there are so many deficiencies in the legislation.

It is critically important that when legislation passes the floor of the House of Commons and goes to committee that the government be open to listening to what is presented in committee and open to amendments. I know that has not been a highlight of the current government in terms of receiving amendments, particularly from opposition parties. Often we find that amendments brought forward by opposition parties would add strength and value to laws and regulations. I believe that is what Canadians want to see.

I believe that once we get this bill to committee, we will find ideas that will lead to potential amendments. Hopefully the government will listen and support where it can, even though the Conservatives' track record is not good. However, I am an optimistic person.

As I have suggested, we can do a lot better than this in terms of transparency, which Canadians are asking for and deserve. Even though the bill is mostly about technical amendments, the Liberal Party will be supporting the bill going to committee.

We have had some horrific accidents over the last number of years. I would suggest there are things government should have been doing to deal with some of the regulations that need to be changed.

I think of my backyard, where we have the CP tracks going through the heart of Winnipeg's north end. Common commodities such as wheat and oil and many other products are shipped.

We have seen serious devastation in communities where rail line accidents have occurred.

Bill C-3 is a bill that is mostly about technical amendments, and that is why, in principle, we will support it going through. It would have been a lot better if the government had taken a more holistic approach to improving safety on our rail lines, in our air spaces, and in our oceans.

The government of the day can choose the status quo and not come up with bold initiatives that would have an impact, but there is going to be a cost. What we have witnessed over the last number of years is a higher sense of public safety and protecting our communities, because every so often, when we hear about a rail line accident, there is a great deal of media attention.

I would suggest that we do not have to wait for accidents to occur. There is a way we can deal with it in a more proactive fashion.

Once the bill does go through the House at second reading and gets to committee, I look forward to the government having an open mind and allowing for some amendments to the legislation.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Winnipeg North was quite mixed up at the beginning of his speech. He did not know which bill it was or what he should talk about. I think he is still mixed up, because we are debating third reading. It is not going to committee. That is over. We are at third reading, and the bill is not going to committee. I just wanted to help him a little bit.

At the same time, would he agree with me that the Liberals were in government for a long time, before the Conservatives, after the Conservatives, and before the Conservatives again? They were in government for many years. This is a problem that has existed for a long time, where government lets companies themselves be responsible for the security of people, then when an accident happens, it is too late.

The government has a responsibility to put the security mechanisms in place to ensure that people do not get hurt. That happened during the Liberal government, too. We should not be talking about this bill in 2014. It should have been there a long time ago. It is not the first incident that has happened in this country.

Would he agree with me that the Liberals failed to do that when they were in power?

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments with regard to it now being at third reading versus second reading. It is very important that we pay attention as government bills are being called. Believe it or not, I do make some mistakes, and my apologies to members of the House if I might have given the impression that it was second reading. It is, in fact, third reading.

Having said that, I still believe that it is important to look at our current situation. There are many needs with regard to improving the system. When the Liberals were in government, did we have a perfect system? Likely not, but some significant improvements were made at that time. I suspect that in time, hopefully, the current government will be replaced, and we will once again have a more progressive government that will be able to look at the bigger picture in safety

Although I was hoping there would have been some amendments, I do not think there would have been, and that would tell me that there were lost opportunities. I am sure I will hear in questions whether there were amendments passed.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, this particular bill is mainly technical in scope, but the committee heard from a wide array of witnesses.

When we talk about rail safety, everybody is very much aware of some of the horrific accidents that took place, Lac Mégantic being at the forefront of most people's recollections. We know that the Auditor General did an extensive study of all the events surrounding that accident.

I know that if we stand in the House during question period and ask the minister for particulars, the minister will stand and go on about how much money the government has spent specifically on rail safety. I would like to ask my colleague whether the minister is on solid ground when she says that. I guess that is the essence of my question.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport will say, for example, that the government has spent about $100 million on safety since 2009, but what is important is that we put that in perspective. It sounds like a big number, except that it spent $600 million on advertising over the same years, which is unbelievable. It spent $550 million on outsourced legal fees. Therefore, we need to put things in the proper context.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to help my colleagues from the Liberal Party to situate themselves a bit better. We are in third reading, but we are also in third reading of Bill C-3, which does not have much to do with railroads.

I will give the member the title, just so it is a little clearer in everybody's minds. It is an act to enact the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act, to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. Rail safety is an interesting point, and it is important that we debate it in the House, but perhaps we should be a little more on point as to what is being debated in the House at the moment.

Perhaps the Liberal Party is confused, because when we sent this bill to committee after second reading, it did not present any amendments. Maybe it just missed this bill entirely. I do not know. However, we are in third reading of a bill that has to do with marine safety, and that is what I would like to ask a question about.

Seeing as the Liberals did not produce any amendments during the committee stage, I will assume they are in agreement that a company should only be liable for $230,000 in case of an oil spill.

I remember last summer that Conservative ministers suggested it should be as much as a billion dollars. That number has been substantially reduced. I assume that, because they have not produced any amendments, the Liberals are in agreement with the significant reduction in the liability for which a corporation would be responsible.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about safety, there is an element of rail safety within the legislation. It is an important issue for many Canadians.

If the member wants to downplay railway safety, that is fine. He can choose to do that. We recognize that within our transportation industry, we need to take safety into consideration, not only marine but also railway and sky. I would be a bit disappointed if he does not recognize the value that we have put forward.

Regarding liability insurance, I have heard all sorts of extremes. I have heard members of his caucus talk about having $38 billion to cover potential liabilities for offshore oil. Imagine if that NDP policy had been put in place. What impact would that have had on the development of oil out in the Atlantic Ocean?

The whole issue of insurance liability is very serious and it should not be taken lightly, because it does have a lot to do with our environment, our economy, jobs and so forth. The member tries to poke a bit of fun here and there, but at the end of the day, this is a serious issue and the legislation could have been improved. Even though I was not at that committee, the NDP did not get one amendment passed either.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the member does want to talk about railway safety, let us talk about the Liberals' approval of remote control technology for trains in 2003, and how that led to one-man crews on the railway.

Would the member agree with the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration and say that one-man crews, when toxic materials are being transported, are actually a dangerous practice? Will he apologize for the approval of the former Liberal government for approving such dangerous measures on the railroads?

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Charlottetown brings up a good point, which is that the member is maybe stretching a bit here. I suspect the reason he might be stretching is because he is a little nervous. That is just a hypothesis on my part. I do not know for sure.

However, I would suggest, as I did about 15 minutes ago, that even when the Liberal Party was in government, it might not have been a perfect system, but there were efforts from previous Liberal administrations to take a more holistic approach at delivering a safer environment for all rail, air and marine transportation. The Liberal Party has taken this very seriously in the past and will continue to do so into the future.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to give my speech and my opinion on the bill before us. For the benefit of those present today, I will repeat that this is the third reading of Bill C-3, An Act to enact the Aviation Industry Indemnity Act, to amend the Aeronautics Act, the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Liability Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

This bill will amend a great many laws on marine safety, mainly with respect to the transportation of dangerous and toxic products, especially petroleum products.

A number of witnesses told us what they thought about the proposed amendments. The NDP proposed amendments to the bill that the government did not accept. That is very unfortunate because the current bill is a step in the right direction, but a far cry from what it should be.

To add context I would like to quote Canada's Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. He has repeatedly given us benchmarks so that we have an accurate picture of the state of marine safety with respect to the transport of hydrocarbon products. This is what he had to say in 2010:

The Canadian Coast Guard, the lead federal agency for responding to ship-source oil spills, has not conducted an assessment of its ship-source oil spill response capacity since 2000. While concerns have been raised regarding the state of the Coast Guard’s oil spill response equipment, given the lack of recent capacity analyses and the lack of up-to-date knowledge on risks, the Coast Guard does not know if its ship-source oil spill response capacity is appropriate to address those risks.

He continues:

In the meantime, Canada lacks a formal framework for responding to chemical spills, including clear roles and responsibilities.

I would like to remind members that he said that in 2010. It seems that the message was not heard. In 2012, the commissioner again pointed out the following in his annual report:

The potential impacts of an offshore oil spill in Atlantic Canada, such as seen in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, could be widespread and devastating to the environment, industry, and the livelihoods of many Canadians. As a result, it is essential that the offshore petroleum boards manage the risks and impacts associated with the oil and gas activities they regulate.

As I said, that was in 2012. The message still had not gotten through, so the commissioner brought up the problems yet again in his 2013 report, which stated:

The federal government has an important leadership role to play in protecting species and spaces and implementing a sustainable development agenda. Leadership means first identifying where the federal government can add the most value, finding the most cost-effective way to do so, investing what it takes to add that value, and finally, following through on commitments. Fulfilling current promises is critical, because commitments are only the first steps toward the research, protection, and recovery needed. Building on progress and successes such as the Habitat Stewardship Program and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, for example, is also vital.

In 2013, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development once again reported that we did not have the equipment and were not ready to respond to spills at sea.

I would like to close with a quote from Danielle Giroux, spokesperson for the St-Lawrence Coalition, who expressed her opinion on the commissioner's comments. These quotations are from the David Suzuki Foundation website.

Danielle Giroux said:

As the governments of Quebec and Newfoundland prepare to open the Gulf of St. Lawrence to oil exploration, this report confirms that we are in no way prepared to respond to any incident related to this extractive activity. We do not have the technical resources to prevent or clean up the mess, nor do we have the financial guarantees to cope with it. This report is a cold shower for the coastal communities that depend on the health of the Gulf for their own well-being.

This bill is about financial liability in case of an oil spill. Compensating people if their industry is destroyed by an oil spill is all well and good, but what about rebuilding the industry if it is damaged by an oil spill? Remember the Exxon Valdez? Oil from that spill is still washing up on shore. The Irving Whale sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence 30 years ago, and people in the Magdalen Islands, in my riding, are still picking up chunks of oil that wash up on the sand every year. A spill never really goes away; the fallout lasts for years.

We have to think about the long term when we talk about compensation. The fishing industry in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Atlantic, off the west coast and potentially in the Arctic is a sustainable activity that can go on indefinitely. If an oil spill damages this industry, we need to make sure that it can continue to exist, rather than thinking about financial compensation. We need to think about what can be done to limit the impact of a spill.

Rather than talking about what type of insurance policy is needed to financially compensate people for a year's income, I would like the government to talk about what it is going to do to ensure that the tourism, fishing and seabed mining industries remain sustainable.

I would like to give some statistics that show the value of the industries we are talking about. In the Magdalen Islands, fishing and the related industries, particularly the processing industry, represent $100 million per year. In the Gaspé, lobster fishing alone represents $15 million per year. In 2010, in the Gaspé, the landing value of fishing was $85 million. Landings in the lower St. Lawrence, the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands account for two-thirds of all landings in Quebec. Tourism generates $280 million a year in my region.

In the bill before us, we are talking about an insurance policy that would provide $230 million in compensation. That is not even equivalent to the revenue generated in one year by the tourism industry. I would like to remind hon. members that if the beaches in the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands are polluted with oil, there will not be very many tourists. One year of compensation in the amount of $230 million will not restore the industry in my region. The region will be decimated. This bill does not meet the needs of my constituents; that is clear. If it does not meet their needs, it obviously does not meet the needs of constituents in neighbouring ridings either.

When it comes to cleaning up oil spills, the bill indicates that companies will be responsible for cleaning up up to 10,000 tonnes of oil. In eastern Canada, there is currently talk of a project in Belledune that could involve the marine transport of four times that amount of oil. There is also talk of a potential project in Cacouna, not far from Rivière-du-Loup, involving the marine transport of almost 10 times that amount of oil. Today, the marine transport of oil in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is equivalent to approximately 82 million tonnes per year. The bill stipulates that the company would be responsible for cleaning up only 10,000 tonnes. That is not enough. It is not nearly enough.

Today, an oil tanker carries at least four times the quantity proposed in this bill in the event of a spill. A standard Suezmax or Panamax oil tanker may contain at least four times more than what this bill is proposing. If one of these ships is involved in a spill, the company would be responsible for just one-quarter of it. Who will be responsible for the rest? Canadians.

Once again, Canadians are being asked to assume the risk socially, while the benefits are being privatized. Companies will get off the hook and make huge profits. Everyone knows the oil industry is very profitable. Canada's oil exports have tripled in the past five years, and they are expected to triple again in the next three.

Huge quantities of oil will pass very close to our coastal communities, which depend on fishing, forestry and tourism, all traditional and sustainable industries. As for the oil industry, we are not equipped for a spill, period.

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is one of Canada's main oil transportation routes, and it freezes in the winter. It ices over. What will happen if a spill occurs on the ice? We are not equipped to clean up a spill like that. Let us take things one step at a time.

It is all well and good to want to make companies liable for up to $230 million, but it is nowhere near enough. It is better than what we have now, where companies are liable for $35 million. At least that will go up to $230 million. A year ago, the Conservatives were talking about $1 billion, but they decided it was too much.

I would remind the House that some countries put no limit on a company's liability. Norway, for example, has no limit. Companies responsible for a spill are responsible for the cost of cleanup, period.

By the way, Norway's oil economy is not suffering. Growth is good and the industry is doing well. The country has money and is protecting the environment at the same time. Both are possible. I do not know why we in Canada cannot understand that companies need to be accountable. If the polluter is not liable, someone else will be, and that will be us, the taxpayers. I think taxpayers have paid enough already.

The government keeps saying that taxpayers are paying too much. Frankly, if the government is trying to tell Canadian taxpayers that they should be subsidizing oil companies, Canadians will be left scratching their heads and wondering why they should have to compensate them.

Those companies have plenty of money, since that industry is extremely profitable. I think they can start assuming liability for any pollution they might cause.

A boat will not necessarily cause a spill, as we know. Some boats go up and down the east or west coast on a daily basis. They go by all the time. I just have to look around me when I am at home. I see boats passing by carrying oil. We can all see them. Fortunately, there has never been a spill.

Elsewhere around the world, however, there have been about 10,000 spills over the past 40 years. We know that this can happen and we know the risks. Every industry faces some sort of risk. It is crucial that we have a bill that considers this risk. We do not have one here. Companies are just starting to assume some liability, but not nearly enough.

In committee, I would have liked to see the Conservatives remember what they themselves had promised. They promised liability to the tune of $1 billion. That definitely would have been better. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near that.

Where I come from, there are several potential oil deposits in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but the most important is the Old Harry site, located between the Magdalen Islands and Newfoundland. It is so much on the border that we are not even sure exactly where it is.

If development begins at that site, there are fears that we are not properly equipped to clean up a spill. There are doubts about whether the company that has the permit today would have the financial ability to pay compensation in the event of a major spill. This bill would not provide enough for a proper cleanup following a catastrophe like the one in the Gulf of Mexico. It definitely needs to go further. Is it enough for today? Unfortunately, I have to support the bill, because it is a first step, but it does not provide nearly enough to respond to the real needs of our coastal communities.

Coastal communities will assume the risk so that the oil companies can benefit. That is not fair. We live in a society that should be fair and balanced. The Conservatives' bill appears to be an attempt to relieve the big companies of their liability and make society take on the risk. I do not understand. On the one hand they are socialists and on the other they are capitalists. Unfortunately they have got things the wrong way around.

They should have started by asking themselves what could be done to protect our coastal communities, so that they can grow and the wealth can be shared across Canada. That is not what we see in the bill, which only has to do with compensation in the case of a spill. The bill tacitly states that there will be a spill and attempts to safeguard against the financial impact a spill would have. However, no matter how much money you throw at a disaster, the real challenge is surviving it.

In Canada, there is a $400-million fund in case of a spill, but there have been no contributions to it since 1976. I have to wonder whether the government is serious about holding companies accountable for their own actions. It does not seem to be. The bill is quite simply not enough, but once again, it is a step forward. Without this bill, liability is $35 million. That is nowhere near enough. Liability of $230 million is a little more reassuring, but coastal communities are worth more than that.

The tourism and fishing industries deserve the House's attention. Unfortunately, the comments from members of the Conservative Party seem to ignore the fact that there are human beings and sustainable industries in the regions.

On the west coast, which I have not spoken much about, there is tremendous interest in this bill. For example, Burrard Inlet in Vancouver is the second most dangerous navigation point in that region. A ship navigating through the inlet at its own risk is thus putting the coastal community of greater Vancouver and the west coast at risk.

We definitely want all regions of Canada to be able to benefit from the oil industry. That is why the risk must be shared among all concerned. Companies should take on their fair share. I do not think that this bill does enough. I hope that the government will come up with some new proposals to improve the situation.

I doubt that that will happen before the election in 2015. That is why I believe that the NDP is the only party that can stand up for coastal communities. I look forward to when we form the government.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine for his speech.

There are problems in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Conservative bills establish none of the protections that should be in place for this system, which is extremely important for the fisheries and whale ecosystems.

I think that the member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine has some expertise in this area. I would like to know if his party is also in favour of a moratorium on oil exploration and development.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, many of the people who come to my constituency office ask the same kinds of questions.

We tell them that we cannot ignore the fact that this is a natural resource region. It has always been dependent on those resources for its economic growth and the economic well-being of the families that live there. We must not develop the region without taking the necessary precautions.

We are not properly equipped in that regard. The Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development was clear about that. We do not have the equipment needed to deal with a spill. In the event of a spill in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, there are industries, particularly the fishing and tourism industries, that would be very significantly affected.

We need to start by asking the following question. Can development be done safely? If the answer is yes, we need to determine the steps that need to be taken. If the answer is no, we need to take the necessary measures.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine for his speech.

I was looking at the content of Bill C-3, especially in terms of the companies' liability. A shipowner's liability in the event of an oil spill is limited to approximately $230 million. That is a very small amount should an oil spill occur on our coasts. I am particularly concerned about this aspect of the bill.

Enbridge's Line 9 goes through the eastern part of Laval, in my riding. It crosses the two rivers, the rivière des Prairies and the rivière des Mille-Îles, as well as farmland. The residents are very concerned and worried about potential spills and environmental problems that come with transporting materials such as oil across our lands or near our waterways.

As my colleague mentioned, he is very close to the fishers and those who live on the coast, be it on the Magdalen Islands or the Gaspé Peninsula. What are the local people telling him? How do the people of Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine feel about these requirements?

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her comments and question. Her remarks are very interesting.

We are quite in tune with the concerns of the people in Laval. We know that in the event of a spill, we do not have the capability to clean up the mess properly. We suspect that oil companies do not have the best interests of the general public in mind. We suspect that governments are in a big hurry to move forward without taking the necessary precautions.

We are certainly not against development. My constituents' comments suggest that they are not against development, but they want it to be sustainable and in compliance with the rules. There is no rush. The oil will not disappear. We know that we can get rich and that everyone can benefit. However, we do not want to assume the risk alone. We definitely want both the wealth and the risk to be shared.

In the Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands, we are very welcoming and friendly. We like people and want to help them. If we can help them with natural resources, be they forest or oil products, we will continue to do so. We have been doing it for 200 years.

However, the risk must be shared fairly. Today, we are a long way from that.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies ActGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2014 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all I would like to congratulate my colleague on his excellent speech. It shows that he really knows the file well and that he does good work for his constituents.

My colleague clearly showed the limitations of this bill. As he said many times, the bill does not address the risk, in light of the reality.

I would like my colleague to quickly give us one or two examples of proposals that could have been included in this bill so that we could have avoided studying a limited bill.