Yes. It is bizarre that the Coasting Trade Act is before the finance committee. It makes no sense, and yet here we are debating seismic surveys in coastal waters—which should not be before the finance committee.
We just heard recent testimony on this. This clause would allow foreign or non-duty-paid seismic vessels to perform seismic activities on Canada's continental shelf without obtaining a coastal trade licence. These tests are conducted for oil exploration. We believe that government review and assessment of these activities is important.
We heard from Mr. Len Zedel, a scientist, who said “fish catch rates have been noted to decrease in response to seismic surveys”. He said “The intention of the present legislation”, this bill, “is to provide easier access for oil companies to seismic survey vessels, but if it has the desired effect, the concern is that you'll have more seismic survey operations” and consequently “significantly more environmental impact”. He said it was the “cumulative” effect of these seismic surveys that he's concerned about. He believes there could also be impacts on the fishing industry, for obvious reasons, if fish are affected by the surveys.
So one could argue for greater control over the industry rather than less, to constrain and manage the impact—the industry meaning the seismic survey.
We also heard from Professor Richard Steiner, who said:
We know that impacts can go out to 50 or 60 kilometres on certain species...and the effects can be quite profound, particularly with continuous sound pulses over a long period of time.
Professor Steiner said that Canadian standards for seismic mitigation should be better, and that the Canadian and U.S. governments should “develop a bilateral agreement to make seismic mitigation and monitoring consistent across our borders”.
The reason I'm quoting extensively from these scientists is that this is an issue that should have more study. Again, it's not properly before the finance committee. We believe it should be sent to the appropriate committee and be properly studied.
So we're not going to be supporting it.