Evidence of meeting #77 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 oceans.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Paul Crowley  Vice-President, Arctic Program, World Wildlife Fund-Canada
John Helin  Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band
Nikki Macdonald  Ph.D. Candidate, University of Victoria, As an Individual
Bill Wareham  Science Projects Manager, Western Region, David Suzuki Foundation

9:25 a.m.

Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band

John Helin

I think it's a combination of things, us sitting down face to face. It's not only information sharing. It's getting into the real information where we can make decisions going forward. It's not me meeting with the minister for 10 minutes and simply sharing information. It has to be in-depth.

9:25 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

On the question of veto, what's the difference between veto and consent?

9:25 a.m.

Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band

John Helin

I think that's a fine line and you have to balance a whole bunch of things. You listen to the court cases that have come out recently. Tsilhqot'in is one I'll point to, and it says you should be able to make a decent living where you live. I think that's a good guideline if you're not harming the environment. I mean, you should be allowed to look at different opportunities as they come along, or create new ones.

9:25 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Finnigan, you have seven minutes, please.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the panel for being here with us today as we study Bill C-55.

To maybe follow up, Mr. Crowley, on a question that was asked earlier, could you elaborate on the funding that you receive? Are you getting special funding, or are you simply getting funding from different programs? Could you elaborate what funding you're getting from the federal government?

9:25 a.m.

Vice-President, Arctic Program, World Wildlife Fund-Canada

Paul Crowley

At WWF Canada we get funds from multiple sources, from individual Canadians in many cases, from the philanthropic world, and from government programs. It's a variety of funding sources.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

We've heard concerns that with the new regulations the minister might have powers to act, especially when we're talking about on an interim basis, where he could come in and regulate a certain area. Could the opposite be true, that perhaps when there's been some identified area in the past a new minister comes in and just shuts that down? We've seen in the past with a conservation area, looking at the experimental lakes area in Ontario, where a previous minister shut everything down. Should we have more legislation to make sure that what we've built in the past does not disappear at the whim of a minister?

I would ask any one of you to comment on that.

9:25 a.m.

Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band

John Helin

What I'd point to is a recent article that just came out about Alaska. The past year they had 225 million salmon return. In my brief that I have here, and I'll give it to members who want it, one of the proposals we've been looking at for years is ocean ranching. It's so successful right next door to us in Alaska, and the federal government to date has not agreed to look at it. I was encouraged by my last meeting with Minister Leblanc, but since then I got a letter from somebody beneath him that says they don't want to look at it.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

All right, Mr. Helin. Did you say ocean ranching?

9:25 a.m.

Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

How is that different from aquaculture? Could you explain?

9:25 a.m.

Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band

John Helin

Fairly simply they take native salmon, in this case chum salmon native to the area, the rivers and creeks where they originally spawned, and they take the eggs and implant them into every river and creek that they want those fish to return to. When the salmon get to a certain stage, they go out to the ocean, and they come back to those same rivers and streams when they return to their systems. It's hugely successful.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Are there any comments on my question?

9:25 a.m.

Vice-President, Arctic Program, World Wildlife Fund-Canada

Paul Crowley

I agree with your comment that certainty is provided when there's clear legislation and that, particularly when there has been deep consultation in the process, undoing that process at whim should not happen. Only under certain conditions should it be undone, and legislative framework will allow that certainty to exist.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Mr. Helin, I heard you talk about flipping the licence when it's allocated to indigenous communities. They would flip that to private interests outside your community. On the east coast, we're looking at the owner-operator licence, where the licence has to remain within the community. Would you see advantages if we could legislate that those rights remain in the community? Is that something that...?

9:30 a.m.

Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band

John Helin

First you have to own it. You have to be able to afford to buy the quota, so yes, I agree. I also think that in the past we went through phases where some of that was in place.

I remember when my dad was a commercial fisherman, one of the best in our community for years. When he had a licence, he was able to go out and get the salmon, halibut, and different species under one licence. Now it's all segregated. At one time, to buy halibut quota, it cost about eight dollars a pound. Now, to buy one pound of halibut quota, it's about $130, so the big corporations and the rich fishermen get richer and the little guys starve.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

I read a statement in the bill that says that activities carried out “by a foreign national, an entity incorporated or formed by or under the laws of a country other than Canada, a foreign ship or a foreign state” may be exempted from restrictions imposed in a proposed interim protected area. That to me is a bit concerning.

Can I have comments on that, where even though we have laws, certain ships could just drive through or do other activities in that area? Could any one of you comment on that?

9:30 a.m.

Vice-President, Arctic Program, World Wildlife Fund-Canada

Paul Crowley

I'm sorry. You would have to repeat some of the question, please.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

With regard to restricted MPAs, foreign ships or a foreign state may be exempted from restrictions imposed in a proposed interim area. Did you know that, first of all, and are you concerned about that?

9:30 a.m.

Vice-President, Arctic Program, World Wildlife Fund-Canada

Paul Crowley

That does sound concerning, but I don't have the information to be able to respond.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

It was news to me, and I was concerned.

With regard to the treaty rights, you're saying you have not been consulted. However, you do have protections with the court case in the past and everything. Those already exist, and they're not going to be changed by MPAs. What more can be done to make sure your needs are looked after?

9:30 a.m.

Mayor, Lax Kw'alaams Band

John Helin

We're not in a treaty process, and I wouldn't go into a treaty process where we go in to negotiate to give our land and our rights away. I would look at different proposed projects that come into our traditional territory and work with them for benefits, jobs, and everything we want.

It's not an easy question to answer. You have to look at all the moving parts. Again, a treaty would not be suitable for our members. We've pulled out of it.

It keeps coming back to this question: what is meaningful consultation? I don't think we've ever been meaningfully consulted. You talk about marine protected areas. They were just done without our consultation on the coast: Dundas Island, Great Bear Rainforest, and down the list. We weren't part of that process, but it's in place now and it's harming our community members.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Finnigan, thank you very much.

Mr. Arnold, you have five minutes, please.

November 21st, 2017 / 9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to thank our witnesses for being here this morning.

I believe this Bill C-55 is important to Canada's future, and I think it's important that we get it right.

We've heard time and again that MPAs typically take five to seven years to implement and be put in place. Targets were set. They may have been admirable targets, but maybe they weren't quite achievable at the time.

However, we seem to have some hard timelines put in place now: the 2017 target of 5% and now the 2020 target of another 5% on top of that. We only have basically two years left. I'm not sure whether the targets end at 2020, so maybe that's three years for what is normally a five- to seven-year process.

I guess I would ask this next question to each one of you. Do you feel that this process may end up being too rushed, passing Bill C-55 and trying to meet these targets?