Evidence of meeting #145 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was million.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Jen O'Donoughue  Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Jeffery Hutchinson  Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Timothy Sargent  Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Mario Pelletier  Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Andy Smith  Deputy Commissioner, Strategy and Shipbuilding, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Adam Burns  Director General, Fisheries Resource Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Mark Waddell  Director General, Fisheries and Licence Policy, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Philippe Morel  Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems Sector, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

I don't buy that for a minute. There has never been a single case of a non-native invasive harmful species ever eliminated by fishing.

Every smallmouth bass female, as you know, lays thousands and thousands of eggs. When the fry hatch, they're extremely small. They'll go through any fish fence. This is a time bomb waiting to happen, yet you're more than happy to use fish toxicants on the lamprey eel in the Great Lakes. You think it's a great idea to use a chemical to eliminate them.

The track record of rotenone goes back 50 to 60 years. It's been used countless times to manage fish communities. Again, I think your decision is completely wrong.

Frankly, what I find about your department is that the higher-ups in your department think your clients are the fish. They're not. Your clients are the people who use the fish. That should be your primary concern. The Atlantic salmon fishery in New Brunswick has been estimated to be worth $135 million and thousands of jobs.

Speaking of Atlantic salmon, our committee produced a unanimous report with 17 recommendations. None have been followed. Why is that?

5:20 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Timothy Sargent

We certainly see the role of the ministry and department as being stewards of a natural resource that all Canadians can use and enjoy. In order to ensure that resource continues for the future, and for future generations as well, we have to think of how it impacts not just today, but down the line.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Don't lecture on sustainability, thank you.

5:20 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Timothy Sargent

I just want to give you the context for decisions that we make.

What was the last part of your question?

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Why have you not implemented the 17 recommendations in the unanimously approved Atlantic salmon report from this committee?

5:20 p.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Timothy Sargent

We can get back to you on the status of the implementation of those recommendations—

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

The minister did, with a letter. We had the words “restore” and “replenish” many times in that report, yet restoring Atlantic salmon was not even included in the minister's response. That's appalling.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Ken McDonald

Thank you, Mr. Sopuck.

Now to the government side. Mr. Rogers, you have five minutes or less, please.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Hutchinson, I want to focus on the lifeboat stations that you talked about, particularly because one of these is in my riding, in Old Perlican. I know there are designated spots like Twillingate and St. Anthony. I know some great progress has been made. Harvesters, mariners and people in the recreational sailing industry and commercial industry are really pleased to see this new facility and the security and the services it's going to provide for these mariners.

When do you anticipate that this lifeboat station will be completed and fully operational?

5:20 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

That's an excellent question. I normally have that date at the top of my brain, but I don't right at the moment. We're fully operational next season, is that correct?

5:20 p.m.

Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Mario Pelletier

Yes, fully. It's going to ramp up. The station won't be ready until [Inaudible—Editor].

5:20 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

It will be fully operational next season. We'll have temporary resources in place in the meantime.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

When you say next season, do you mean in the fall?

5:20 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

It's springtime next year.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Okay. I know that construction seems to be going really well. People in that community and along that coastline are excited about it.

What about the Twillingate site and St. Anthony? I understand that St. Anthony is just a renovation of and improvements to the current site. Twillingate is a new site as well.

5:20 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

It's on the same time frame. St. Anthony has already received its new offshore search and rescue vessel. I believe the renovations to the building will be done in the next 12 months.

This summer it will be fully operational.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Thank you very much for that.

Also, we haven't received any particular notification of the official opening of the St. John's rescue centre that was returned and restored to St. John's after it was closed by the previous government amid great disappointment and protest by harvesters, mariners and certain individuals like Merv Wiseman, who I can recall championing that cause. It was also a major issue during the last federal election.

Are you aware of when there might be some kind of official event or grand opening announcement for that particular facility, which is going to provide a crucially important service to the east coast, particularly to Newfoundland and Labrador?

5:20 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

My recollection is that we did have an event for the MRSC and I will get you the date that occurred. Then, with the new southside base that's opening.... My sister tweeted me the other night and told me it was all lit up and the construction is going very well. We're in the planning process now for a grand opening date for that.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Again, thank you for that. I'm just excited about the fact that it's going to be reopened, of course. I would love to have the opportunity to attend that kind of event.

Looking at the St. Anthony and Twillingate facilities, I think about the kind of service that you as Coast Guard provide in terms of icebreaking during the springtime. We've had major ice conditions again this spring. I'm assuming that's not going to be part of your duties, that the regular bigger boats, icebreakers like the Louis S. St-Laurent and others, will continue on with the schedule they're on nowadays.

5:20 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

The opening of the lifeboat stations and those assets will have no bearing. We will continue to deploy heavy assets for icebreaking, as needed, for the ferry routes and for the opening of the fisheries, as we have in the past.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Will these lifeboat stations be staffed 24-hour services or on call? How will those operate?

5:25 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

They'll have the same posture as our other lifeboat stations, which will give you effective 24-7 coverage, but it doesn't mean that we'll have people sitting at tables, up all night, all the time. You will have effective 24-7 coverage between people who are at the station and people who are on very short standby to return to the station if there's a call.

May 13th, 2019 / 5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Is that with a very short response time?

5:25 p.m.

Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeffery Hutchinson

Yes. We're away from the dock in 30 minutes in all cases.

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Churence Rogers Liberal Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, NL

Okay. Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.