Mr. Speaker, I rise to take part in the debate on the Canada Oceans Act.
Canada is by any global standard a maritime nation. It is a nation with unique, vast and diverse ocean resources. Geographically Canada has the longest salt water coastline of any nation in the world and the longest archipelago. With the declaration of an exclusive economic zone, Canada's ocean territory will be the equivalent of one-half of its land territory. Canada truly is a water world.
With these three distinct ocean environments, the Atlantic, the Arctic and the Pacific, Canadian coastlines represent the most fascinating ecosystem diversity on earth. Canada is never very far from its oceans. For this reason Canada must place ocean management very high on its list of priorities.
Eight provinces and both territories possess salt water coastlines, as does my constituency of Carleton-Charlotte located on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Carleton-Charlotte represents diversity in its many industries: agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and processing, fishing and aquaculture to name a few. This diversity exemplifies the economic and long term sustainable benefits of our natural resources base and the urgent need to conserve them. The oceans act is a fundamental building block of natural resources management, the area where Canada has and will continue to be a leader.
The global environment behaves as an umbrella, an end and constantly changing result of its primary components, the natural resources. Environmentally, the influence of the oceans on the Canadian climate is felt by all parts of the country. Hudson Bay acts as a great temperature moderator to central Canada. The bay brings cool nights to temper the hot summer prairie days. The resulting climate has given Canada the most productive agriculture region in the world.
On the east coast the cold Atlantic mixes with the warm gulf stream to create the wonderful variable climate that has shaped a coastline of unsurpassed beauty. Tourists from all over the world come to admire the marvellous ocean scenery and the world's highest tides found along the Bay of Fundy coast in Carleton-Charlotte.
Culturally, the oceans have contributed to the tradition and character of the Canadian fabric. From the earliest records of aboriginal settlements to the arrival of the first Europeans, the oceans have been a stage on which Canadian history has been played.
It was the glowing reports of the bountiful oceans and the quest for the promised ocean route to the Orient that accelerated the pace of development. The Europeans prized the fish, whale and seals they found in the Canadian Atlantic as much as they prized the gold and silver of Mexico and the spices and silks of the West Indies.
The oceans continue to be stamped indelibly on our culture and social consciousness. Each year Canadians everywhere make their annual pilgrimage to the seashore. The ocean literature and art by numerous Canadian authors and artists such as Farley Mowat, Emily Carr and David Blackwood are indeed cherished classics.
Economically, Canada's ocean fisheries have suffered setbacks in recent years with the collapse of the groundfish industry in the east, directly affecting my constituency of Carleton-Charlotte, and the reduction of salmon catches on the west coast. However, there is much opportunity and promise in new technologies and new ocean ventures. The conservation initiatives have provided for optimistic futures.
Canada's aquaculture industry continues to grow as an international industry. The aquaculture industry is predicted to generate over $1 billion in sales, including some $500 million in export sales by the year 2000.
The finest restaurants in the world serve seafood grown in Canada. The Bay of Fundy Salmon Marketing Institute, a subsidiary of the New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association, has recently launched its certified quality Bay of Fundy salmon. The program has been implemented to ensure quality standards in all 13 of its processing plants. These salmon must pass some 30 quality standards to gain certified quality designation. Watch for the blue and gold logo on the gill tag and sticker, guaranteeing a quality product.
The Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering, C-CORE, at Memorial University in Newfoundland is increasing its international component each year. Its international component is projected to be 50 per cent of its total projects within the next five years. At least a dozen Newfoundland high technology companies can trace their roots to C-CORE and many professionals who previously gained experience in the entrepreneurial driving forces in new businesses in all regions of Canada.
On the west coast a group of ocean entrepreneurs from all sectors have created a consortium, the Canadian ocean frontiers research initiative, to research and develop ocean technology projects in the specific exclusive economic zone. Marine transportation is vitally important to Canada's economic well-being. The marine sector handles 40 per cent of the freight shipped each year, a good chunk of the exports we sell. It generates over $2.5 billion in revenue annually and directly employs some 47,000 Canadians.
Examples of innovations such as this will build Canada's future, and the oceans are the medium of opportunity. The Canada oceans act will ensure that we continue to look to the oceans as a source of economic wealth both in the traditional ways and in new ways. Innovation opens new opportunities for ocean resources.
Our oceans are a source of great pride to me and to the members of the government. Now Canadians will have an opportunity to share this pride through their involvement in the oceans management strategy contained in part II of this bill. To develop the oceans management strategy we will be talking with Canadians and we will be learning from each other about our great ocean territory. These discussions will serve a number of purposes. They will create a framework for the oceans of the future. They will articulate what our oceans mean to our national dream. They will raise awareness of what oceans have meant to the cultural history of this great nation of ours. Canadians will decide.
Ocean awareness will ensure that Canadians will make the right management decisions. Awareness creates understanding and
understanding prompts stewardship. We have much to do to generate awareness, but there have been some good starts.
Cultural, heritage and conservation groups from across Canada have documented the influence and impact of the oceans on local history. The New Brunswick Conservation Council's Voices of the Bay tells us a history of the Bay of Fundy from the perspective of those who have lived on its tides. The Western Education Development Group's The Beach Book provides us with a glimpse of sea life on the Pacific.
Educational material that creates ocean awareness has been developed by organizations such as the Vancouver Aquarium, the Huntsman Marine Science Institute and the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Students all over Canada benefit from the material distributed to them by these organizations.
The oceans are an important subject to students. The planet earth is somewhat misnamed, as over 70 per cent of it is covered by oceans. Politically it is fairly simple to create boundaries on dry land, but global oceans defy political boundary. The oceans tie the fate of each nation to a common global fate. Stewardship of the ocean is at one time a regional, a national and an international responsibility. What better way to ensure sound stewardship in the future than to educate those future stewards today.
For Canadians our ocean geography is particularly unique.
No other country in the world can claim to include three distinct ocean ecosystems within its exclusive economic zone. The Arctic, the Atlantic and the Pacific are as unique and different in climate and life form as are the prairies, the Canadian shield and the tundra.
I look forward to the day when classrooms across Canada will be filled with ocean projects, students tracking icebergs and salmon, drawing the paths of circumpolar pollution and measuring the high tides of the Bay of Fundy. I look forward to the day when we describe the Canadian landscape with ocean references as well as with land references.
I want Canadian school children to be able to point out the Grand Banks and the archipelago on a map as easily as they can find the Rockies in the west or the Appalachian Mountains in the east.
I would certainly urge all of my colleagues in the House in join me in voting in favour of this legislation, not because of the importance of the legislation but because of the importance of the oceans to all Canadians.