Mr. Speaker, unlike my colleague across the way, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, I must admit that I am not necessarily enthusiastic about speaking to this bill on ocean management.
I must start out by indicating that the Bloc Quebecois disagrees with the government on it, and I will take the next few minutes to explain why.
The lengthy efforts put into it by the standing committee have been referred to, and I must acknowledge that, indeed, much work has been put into it, and the parliamentary secretary is the one who deserves all the credit. However, all partisan feelings, which may be present in this House, aside the ideas and principles defended by the Bloc Quebecois during the committee stage were put forward precisely in order to ensure a better basis for participation by the various provinces in this strategy.
This concept of partnership is necessary if the strategy the Government wants is to work properly. Since the Government has-pardon my expression-closed its ears to those proposals, the Bloc Quebecois finds itself forced to vote against the bill in question.
I must also make it clear, for the benefit of all environmental groups in Canada and Quebec, that the Bloc Quebecois is not opposed to the form and principle of an ocean management strategy. No one can be against virtue. But, precisely in order to ensure that this virtue serves a purpose, we wanted to ensure that the proposals contained in this bill could be implemented in practice.
The partnership of trust required to implement this strategy had to be reflected in the bill, and it was the duty of everyone to get involved in it with honour and enthusiasm. We did not see that notion of partnership in the bill, nor in the final version we have here before us. Nor do we see the attitude that was reflected in committee. It is absent from the bill.
Under these circumstances, people will therefore understand that the Bloc Quebec would be in favour of an ocean management strategy if it were efficient, supported by everyone, and reflecting the views of everyone. Everyone would recognize their rights, and more important, their obligations, as things are not as clear as they seem. This is why the Bloc feels obliged to oppose the bill for the moment. I will therefore have an amendment to propose at the end of my speech, when you indicate to me the point at which I will be able to table this amendment.
As my colleague across the way has just pointed out, Bill C-26, the Oceans Act, contained three parts.
Part I recognizes Canada's jurisdiction over its ocean areas. The content seems to be similar to that of the convention on the law of the sea as drafted by the United Nations and, so far, we have no problem. However, I do not see the need for Parliament to pass a specific piece of legislation since we are only dealing with adapting the vocabulary.
Part II-I will go back over each part later in my speech-mentions a legislative framework to develop a national ocean management strategy, and that is the rub. This is where the Bloc Quebecois is telling the government side that there is a major flaw, something is very wrong, because the foundation, namely the relationship between partners, is not defined in a satisfactory way for the partners, I will discuss this later in greater details.
Part III, last but not least, deals with the powers, duties and functions of the minister, in other words his power to set fees with regard to marine sciences and the coast guard. First, I will say that the fact that the minister intends to grab increased powers in this area does not augur well, it is not reassuring for the Canadian people since, in the absence of regulations, he has already gone ahead this year with making changes to the coast guard fees for navigational aids, against the wish of stakeholders in this area. This does not augur well. I will deal in greater detail with the three parts later on, explaining why the Bloc Quebecois cannot support this government bill.
To amuse this assembly before dealing with part I, I would like to share with parliamentarians part of the preamble to the bill. It makes me smile. I smiled when I read this part. The third paragraph of the preamble states:
Whereas Parliament wishes to affirm in Canadian domestic law Canada's sovereign rights, jurisdiction and responsibilities in the exclusive economic zone of Canada;