Evidence of meeting #81 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 may.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Darren Goetze  Director General, Conservation and Protection, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Jeff MacDonald  Director General, Oceans Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Philippe Méla  Legislative Clerk

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Thank you.

Mr. Doherty.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. MacDonald, right at the very beginning of your statement, you mentioned that eligible activities would not be determined until further study of that area has taken place. Is that correct?

10:10 a.m.

Director General, Oceans Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeff MacDonald

What I said was when we determine what activities could be permitted in an MPA once the conservation objectives have been established.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Is it your comment right now that that area would be 100% frozen, with the exception of eligible activities?

10:10 a.m.

Director General, Oceans Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeff MacDonald

No, all I'm saying is that with the way we proceed in creating a marine protected area, the first thing we do is look at the ecological features of the area and say that it is an area that's worth protecting. Then we look at activities that could affect that area and determine whether or not they would affect the conservation objectives. If they would not affect the conservation objectives, then they would be allowed.

The way we proceed with Oceans Act MPAs, we don't list activities that are by nature eligible to take place in a marine protected area. We first set the conservation objectives, and then we determine what activities are compatible with the conservation objectives.

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Arnold.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Just for clarity, Mr. MacDonald, you're saying that once an interim MPA was designated, all activities would be excluded until proven sustainable or not in....

10:10 a.m.

Director General, Oceans Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeff MacDonald

No, what I'm saying, Mr. Chair, is that when we initially identify an area for protection, the first thing we do is to try to establish the conservation objectives. By the time we get to the stage of proposing an area for designation, we would have already taken into account socio-economic impacts, cultural impacts, etc., so we would alter either the area or the activities that we permit in that area insofar as they're not incompatible with the conservation objectives.

When we get to the point of designation, which I believe was the question, those factors have all been taken into account. What is ultimately proposed is an area, determined through the GIC process, including which management measures may or may not occur in that area.

The point about eligible activities is that it is not our practice to identify activities that by their very nature can take place regardless of what the conservation objectives are. We do so on a site-by-site basis, based initially on the ecological criteria, and then we factor in human activities. Once all of that is done through the open process, we proceed to designation through the regulatory process.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Doherty.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

That's why we wanted clarification with this clause. We heard some testimony that conflicts with what Mr. MacDonald is saying today. I understand our colleague's testimony, previously....

The worry with stakeholders is that Bill C-55 gives the minister the right to immediately designate an interim marine protected area, using the precautionary principle with the absence of scientific data at that point to not delay this. The concern of our stakeholders is that this would impact the coastal communities, the fishers, and you would freeze that interim protected area completely.

The intent of this section is to ensure that we have some clear language that gives stakeholders some assurances that they can continue fishing, supporting their families and communities.

That's the concern, Mr. MacDonald.

Am I misunderstanding what your comments are, right now? I think that is different from what we've heard previously.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Before I go to you, Mr. MacDonald, I keep referring to you, but if you want to share this amongst your colleagues, feel free to do so and to point them out so people will know who's talking. Thank you.

Go ahead, proceed.

10:15 a.m.

Director General, Oceans Management, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Jeff MacDonald

My only comment with regard to the question was related to the definition of “ongoing” with regard to paragraph 35.1(1)(c). It captures circumstances in which an activity may not have taken place in the last year but has been authorized nonetheless.

My concern was that in certain fisheries, the fishery may not be prosecuted every year. Therefore, what is the provision in the legislation that would consider it an ongoing activity? That would be under definition (c) which talks about an activity that:

was not carried out before the day on which the order comes into force, but was authorized and continues to be authorized, including by a permit or licence, under any applicable federal laws.

In this case, it would be under the Fisheries Act, and it would be a licence that would have the conditions that would say the fishery occurs in an irregular way.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Go ahead, Ms. Jordan.

December 7th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bernadette Jordan Liberal South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Chair, I'm just concerned that we're on clause-by-clause, but it seems to be moving into testimony and refuting testimony that we've heard in the past. That's not why we're here. We're here to deal with the bill clause by clause, and I suggest that we move on with what we're actually supposed to be doing, rather than listening to more testimony, which is what we're getting right now.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

That is noted.

Yes, Mr. Doherty.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, again, I appreciate the concern that our colleague across the way, Ms. Jordan, has. We have had amendments that have been brought to the table today that we have not seen previously. We are trying to understand this piece of legislation. This is an important piece of legislation that will impact stakeholders right across our country. Regardless of the timelines that others are putting on us, it is important that we do this appropriately, so asking questions when we are going through the bill clause by clause is only doing our due diligence.

We have the department here. We have our legislative clerks here. I'm not a lawyer. It allows us to have a better understanding. It's not being facetious. It's not trying to delay this or belabour it any longer. Believe me, I'd like to get on to something else, but it's allowing us to get a better understanding of how we move this forward and it is with the best intentions.

With that, I'll allow us to move forward.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Just as a reminder, we are voting on amendment CPC-2.

10:15 a.m.

A voice

[Inaudible—Editor]

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Yes, I got unanimous consent to back up.

(Amendment negatived)

Therefore, CPC-5 will suffer the same fate, if you'll pardon the terminology.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

That's with so much glee, too.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

No, I shouldn't have said it that way. Actually, I'm totally agnostic.

We're on CPC-3.

Go ahead, Mr. Doherty.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Again, Mr. Chair, this is just to insert the words “lawfully and sustainably”. We suggest that clause 5 be amended:

(a) by replacing line 29 on page 2 with the following: “(a) was lawfully and sustainably carried out in the five years immediately” (b) by replacing line 34 on page 2 with the following: “(b) was lawfully and sustainably carried out in the five years immediately”

I believe it gives further definition and clarity to the minister and the department, as well as the stakeholders. Again, it's listening to the stakeholders who brought forth their concerns.

The current language says “was lawfully carried out in the year immediately”. We are suggesting “was lawfully and sustainably carried out in the five years immediately”.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Shall amendment CPC-3 carry?

10:20 a.m.

An hon. member

Could we have a recorded vote, please.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Sure. This is a recorded vote on CPC-3, as moved by Mr. Doherty.

(Amendment negatived: nays 5; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

Negatived, it's my word of the day.

Next is CPC-4.

Yes, Mr. Doherty.