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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fishing.

Topics

Business Of The House

10 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, immediately after the conclusion of Private Members' Business on Tuesday, December 10, 1996, the House shall consider a motion "That this House take note of the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1998 and the importance of this declaration in the promotion of human rights both domestically and throughout the world," and that during the consideration of this motion no quorum calls or dilatory motions shall be received and that, at the end of the three hours of consideration or when no Member rises to speak, whichever is earlier, the House shall adjourn to the next sitting day.

(Motion agreed to.)

The House resumed from November 27, 1996, consideration of the motion that Bill C-62, an act concerning fisheries, be read the second time and referred to a committee; and of the amendment and the amendment to the amendment.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

December 6th, 1996 / 10 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, before I start my speech, I think it should be pointed out that there were five minutes left for questions and comments, following the Reform member's speech. I believe the hon. member concerned is not here this morning. Therefore, I will get on with my speech.

I am pleased to address the amendment and the amendment to the amendment proposed by the Reform Party, asking that the bill be not now read a second time but that it be referred to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, so as to allow the government and members of this House to review the basis of this legislation. In our humble opinion, we in the official opposition agree with Reformers that, in its current wording, the bill does not make sense. Therefore, we will support the amendment proposed by the Reform Party.

I should remind the House of the Bloc's position. During the debate on the main motion, I mentioned three major irritants. The amendment and the amendment to the amendment proposed by the Reform party provide us with another opportunity to stress the three major irritants in this legislation.

Let me say from the outset that those main irritants relate to the management agreements referred to in clause 17. These agreements allow the minister to invite, at his discretion, classes of fishers or persons of his choice to enter into management agreements, and therefore share the wealth among themselves.

However, all this is discretionary. Fishers involved will not know the rules of the game, because the bill is silent on this issue.

The second major irritant relates to the delegation of powers. While our views may sometimes differ from those of Reformers, we should discuss them again in committee and then come back here with a proper solution.

According to the Bloc Quebecois, the delegation of authority proposed in the bill is inadequate and, more to the point, contradictory. I will explain why in a bit more detail later on.

The third irritant in the bill is the creation of fisheries tribunals, to be found in part III, I believe. In my view, these tribunals are just an excuse so the minister can set up a quasi-judicial system of administrative awards.

They say that future members of the tribunals will be appointed for three years only. At the present time, decisions are made by the regional directors of Fisheries and Oceans. What is the difference between a decision made by a regional director and an official appointed for three years by the minister? Three years is not very long to learn how to exercise one's responsibilities with diligence and transparency, and in a non-political manner.

There are other irritants, particularly concerning the environment. My colleague, the member for Laurentides, will have an opportunity to speak to this today. I must point out right off the bat

that the Bloc Quebecois sees serious problems with the provinces. The way the bill is worded, the government is giving itself new powers, or increasing those it already has. If the federal government does not like the way the provinces are managing their environment, it will be able, with this new bill, to claim that its authority takes precedence. We object to that.

I will now be more specific. I spoke about the main irritant of the management orders. I think the government is up to no good. I see that the secretary of state for agriculture, and fisheries and oceans is listening to us very attentively this morning. I will therefore take this opportunity to try to instruct government members.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

It will not be easy.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

No, it will not be easy, but I will try to be as clear as possible.

I will start by giving an example, and perhaps the secretary of state will understand. Last spring, the fishery helped develop an agreement in principle for the management of certain stocks.

I would remind the secretary of state that crabbers from zone 12, whom he must have heard of, participated in good faith in last spring's exercise. What happened? At the request of the former Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, officials of that department worked in good faith with fishers to establish a framework agreement. It will be recalled that officials duly authorized by the former minister ratified the agreement with the crabbers in question.

When the new minister took up his duties in February 1996, he repudiated their signatures, signing the death warrant for this agreement in principle.

The secretary of state will have a chance to speak shortly.

The main thrust of this is that, when one wants to establish a partnership, first of all, if one wishes to respect the spirit of partnership-I see that the hon. member from Newfoundland understands, and is listening to me; I hope he will be speaking shortly-one must establish an atmosphere of trust. That relationship of trust has been broken. Without going into further detail, I know there is a case currently before a judge, in Moncton I believe, in which crab fishers are seeking a decision on whether the minister was justified in dumping this agreement in principle, as well as on who will have to pay the costs the industry incurred to establish this agreement.

It is immediately evident that the government took a position right from the start, by wishing to implement these partnership agreements.

An additional remark can be made here concerning the fisheries management orders. I have already referred to the discretionary powers of the minister. I have met with several fishers' associations and they are anxious to find out who can be a party to these agreements, how one becomes party to one, and what the mechanisms will be.

There is nothing in this bill to indicate how it will be done. Nothing. This is even more dangerous. Without prejudging who is entitled and who is not, let me give an example of what happens when nothing is clearly established: the social chaos this fall in Chaleur Bay. I am not challenging the right of aboriginal people to fish, but they are nonetheless a new group, a new player in the game. This is an example of what happens when no provision has been made for how a new player can be brought into the game.

Those who were already involved in this fishery were surprised. Now, what is going to happen? How will a place be made for them? And who is to say that there will not be other groups tomorrow? Because the act speaks of classes of permit holders, and it is therefore understood that this refers to people already active in the commercial fishery, and reference is made to any group of individuals, but it is all at the minister's discretion. Some of the government literature refers to partnership agreements. I repeat, when partnerships are involved, there must be an atmosphere of trust. But such trust is not there at the present time.

The minister could have a second chance, if we assume that this was an oversight, that he forgot to include the mechanisms. If we could at least have some specifics on the mechanism that will be used, once the cod fishery is resumed, to decide who will work in the fisheries, since we do not expect the cod fishery to be resumed at the same pace at which it was abandoned?

When I look at what the government is doing now, I see no indication of how this long awaited rationalization will be implemented. I saw no indication of how the core groups involved in the fisheries will be defined. I even raised this question with an official at the department where I was told: "We will let the industry take care of that". As far as the Atlantic fisheries strategy is concerned, $1.9 billion was wasted. These people were given financial support, but we thought that the government, to make the most of its $1.9 billion investment, would require an accounting of the money spent, and that there would be a deadline and a schedule. Representatives for the department told us right off the bat: "No, we left it up to the industry". So there is no obligation on fishers to define their core activity as such before a given date and to rationalize their activities accordingly. It used to be management for the short and medium term.

There is no indication of a mechanism the minister could have started using on a trial basis and then included in his legislation,

with the comment: "I tested this on a group of fishers". Nothing was done. This shows there is much that will have to go back to the drawing board.

The official opposition is prepared to go along with this exercise of informing the government. It is willing to meet the industry with members of other parties and then ensure the government listens to the industry. That is the tenor of the amendment proposed by the Reform Party. However, I wonder what members opposite who rise in the House today will have to say about this.

The clock seems to be moving very quickly this morning, and I want be sure I do not run out of time, but before discussing the other main irritant, the delegation of authority, again in the management agreements the department wants to arrange, there are other points we should not overlook. The management agreements, according to paragraph 17(d), I believe, provide that fishers who are parties to the said agreement-and this is probably what the government will want to do on a large scale-will pay their share of management fees.

As a member of the opposition, it seems to me that the sole purpose of this bill is to help the government deal with a financial problem and that the government certainly has no intention of dealing with the fundamentals of managing the industry, because it is still discretionary, but what is not discretionary is the fact that fishers will have to pay management fees.

We must not forget that the father of this bill, Brian Tobin, left a little present for the fishers before going: he increased licence fees. So in two years, we will have had two proposals affecting a group that pays taxes like anybody else. This means double taxation. That is what we said when licence fees were proposed, but I find it very sad that fishing communities are more likely to have problems with unemployment insurance.

I realize the government is taking money out of the pockets of people who may have a little more money than others if they have their own fishing vessels, but does the government realize that when it takes this money, it is taking wealth out of the community and sending it back to Ottawa? These are people who already have a high rate of unemployment in their community, and the government goes and makes money even scarcer. I find that appalling.

At the time, I proposed to Mr. Tobin, if this measure had to be introduced, and the Bloc Quebecois also advocated rationalizing the deficit like any good parent or farmer, that we have part go directly to Ottawa. If the fisher could prove he invested in his community, in order to distribute the wealth and create jobs, he would not have to remit the entire amount to Ottawa. The government did nothing. Not only did it not act, but we were told immediately that new administration fees will be charged.

There is another small point. Since we are discussing the government's invoice, there was another case pending which, I think, has been settled. There was a decision by the court and, if I am not mistaken, the federal government either tried to pass other legislation or signed contracts with fishers, but there is still no mention in the present bill of landing fees.

The federal government has already had its knuckles rapped once. I think it was in 1992. In 1994, the system was changed. They have already had their knuckles rapped for failing to provide a legal mechanism for the payment of these things. And yet, there is still no provision in this bill. It is easy to see the number of problems that have yet to be resolved.

Time is passing quickly this morning, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps with the unanimous consent of the House, I could have the five minutes for questions and comments the Reform Party did not use, since I was the first to speak this morning.

In any case, delegation of powers to the provinces is both inadequate and contradictory. There is not enough, and I hope my colleagues will discuss it some more this morning. One need only read the proposal the Government of Quebec made in Victoria in November 1994 for it to become clear. British Columbia too is asking to have its powers over fisheries management returned. They are currently negotiating. I think the negotiations are to conclude at the end of February.

Why is the federal government in such a hurry to introduce a bill like this one, given that negotiations are currently going on with British Columbia? The initial protocol provides that the agreement is not to be tabled before February.

I believe the government does not listen to itself. As evidence of the fact that this is inadequate, just look at the powers sought by the provinces and you will see how far off the mark it is.

There is also a contradiction here. In light of what I said about management agreements, if the federal government negotiates directly with fishers, or groups of fishers, regarding issues such as the number of fishing licences and traps, or who will share the wealth, what is there left to delegate to the provinces, since clause 17 takes precedence over clause 9? There will hardly be anything left to delegate. It will be a virtual delegation of powers.

I said the fisheries tribunal was a front. When people are appointed for three years only, how can they be non-partisan or not think about being re-elected or re-appointed? These people will be appointed for a period of three years, with specific directions from the minister. If they do not follow these directions, their mandate will definitely not be renewed.

Fishers are entitled to a system that is fair, a system with no strings attached. If we get such a structure, we will support the legislation.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the hon. member asking for unanimous consent of the House to complete his remarks, or did I misunderstand his point?

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10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I asked to have a little more time because I know there was time left over from the Reform. I still have lots of things to teach government members. If they want to listen to me-

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I will ask the question. Is there unanimous consent of the House for the hon. member to finish his speech?

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10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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10:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Since I heard some people say no, I cannot grant more time to the hon. member. Questions and comments.

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10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the speech of my hon. colleague from Gaspé. Being myself a former employee of the marine fisheries branch in Gaspé, I know that the Quebec fishing industry is operating under dynamics very different from those in the west, for example, or even in the Atlantic provinces.

Fisheries are very important in concerned areas like the Gaspé peninsula, the North Shore, Magdalen Islands, all that area. They are also a small part of Quebec economy. Therefore special management is called for.

Looking at the bill, I am a little surprised because, from 1922 until 1984, there was a delegation agreement. Under that agreement, the federal government had delegated fisheries management to Quebec. In 1984, the minister of the day, Pierre De Bané, who now sits in the other place, decided-in a fit of anger, I believe-to withdraw that delegation. That shows the strength these administrative delegations have.

I would like to ask the hon. member for Gaspé whether it does not seem to him that the delegation of powers found in the bill has a needlessly complicated air about it. They want to give the provinces the power to issue permits and licences, but then, if I understand correctly, it will be the federal government that will enter into the resource management and protection agreements directly with the industry. The impression I get from this is that we will end up with the same squabbles as before, which may have been behind the withdrawal of the delegation set out in the 1922 agreement.

I would like to ask a question of my colleague from Gaspé: Does he not think that this piece of legislation will be a source of new conflict and will only feed the bureaucrats implementing it without meeting the needs of fishers, especially those in Quebec who are a little lost in the great Canadian whole as for the choices that are made?

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague for Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup understands quite well where the government is headed concerning this issue. What fishers in the province and the province itself want is complete jurisdiction over fisheries. If we are to manage this, let us manage it entirely.

As things stand now, when cod are alive, they are under federal jurisdiction. As soon as they are taken out of the water, they are under provincial jurisdiction, because fish plants and fish plant standards are a provincial matter.

Several provinces guarantee fishing boat loans themselves. When cod die, there is a change in jurisdiction, but that does not solve any of the problems of fishers or the industry.

The Quebec government demands the devolution of all those powers if it is to manage something. It has to be in charge of licence delivery, administration and fish stock preservation. Provincial demands about this make a lot of sense. We all know that the cod resource migrates. The province of Quebec alone cannot be expected to manage biological research or the assessment of the cod biomass, because cod migrate.

We demanded first the right to manage the delivery of licences. How would the remaining responsibilities be shared? If the federal government does not know how to do it, it just needs to do proceed the same way NAFO does.

NAFO, or Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization includes a number of countries, and each one of them contributes to the assessment of stocks with the co-operation of biologists and commercial fishers. This information is then compiled by a secretariat. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea even stipulates that border countries have primary responsibility for preparing and providing these assessments. If border countries do not comply, any other member state of the convention can step in.

The hon. member from Newfoundland could confirm that, in many cases, Russia has provided the biological data on the halibut stock off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. So, as you can see, shared management systems do exist.

Have you ever heard of Canada having problems with Russia in terms of fish management? No. We have had problems with Spain, yes, because that country did not want to comply with what was behind our management philosophy.

What we have to do is apply whatever models we have. What would be the impact of managing our fish stock using an approach

similar to NAFO's model? Quebec's quota would be already set. Let us not kid ourselves, around 85 per cent of all the fish caught in the Gulf come under individual quotas. That does not leave much room for negotiation.

What else would happen? We could have a system where everything from beginning to end, from the harvesting to the dinner plate, from the fishers to the consumers, would come under one jurisdiction. The government could ensure resource allocation, namely defining fishing areas and classifying fish boats.

What people have to understand is that different types of fishing boats would be needed. Because of fish migration, I could not tell you what fishing boats would have to be used.

Everyone knows full well that when the fish comes in, trawlers cannot catch it off the coast of Gaspé, so trawl lines or gill nets have to be used. And then the fish heads back for the banks, at which time trawlers can get to work, but when they catch too much fish, there is less left for those who use trawl lines or gill nets. So, if we have a given amount of fish to catch in a given time in order for the fish plants to run a profit, then we would have to find some way to strike a balance.

The problem is, if we find a way to manage the system from beginning to end, once fishers land their catch, what do we do with it? The Bloc Quebecois once suggested-and nobody was against it but this is not possible under the current system-to provide some sort of buffer zone between fishers and processors. Why? Because our main problem is that our processing plants are overspecialized. A plant that used to produce salted and dried fish had to get fish measuring at least 20 inches, so when a fisher came in with a 16-inch fish, which is still legal, they were less interested.

They should have told him: "Unload everything at the same place and we will take care of market segmentation".

What is needed is a single jurisdiction and a will to assume responsibility instead of everybody passing the buck as is the case now, as my colleague from Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup pointed out.

The delegation of powers proposed in this bill does not seem very promising, since the federal government can choose anytime to opt out and say: "Get yourself out of the mess", as it did in 1984.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

George Baker Liberal Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the Bloc and the Reform Party, I feel compelled to say at least a few words about this bill.

The Bloc does not like the bill. The Reform Party does not like the bill. The Tories do not like the bill and the NDP does not like it. There must be something terribly right about this bill if those political parties are saying they do not like it.

It is not just those political parties which do not like the bill. It is also making international news this morning in the European press. The reason is that the European Union is claiming now that it is not going to sign a co-operation agreement with Canada because according to this story that is in the papers from Canadian Press: "According to judicial services"-now that is in the European Union-"there will be more than 14 articles with extraterritorial effects in the fisheries bill presently before the House of Commons".

Let us get this straight. The Bloc, the Reform Party, the Tories and the NDP do not like the bill. There are countries around the world that do not like the bill. Therefore one has to ask the question: What is in the bill that all of those people do not like? I will tell the House what it is.

This bill before the House today is a historic piece of legislation. It is one of the best pieces of legislation ever to be brought before the Parliament of Canada. The first historic piece of legislation brought before the Canadian House of Commons was in 1977 and the fisheries minister at the time was also a Liberal, the hon. Romeo Leblanc. A lot of people today still talk about that fisheries minister as being such a great minister. He brought in a piece of legislation that created an exclusive fishing zone in Canada.

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10:40 a.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

He is our commander in chief, is he not?

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

George Baker Liberal Gander—Grand Falls, NL

That is right. He is presently the governor general. In fact some fishermen have commented that they wish that orders in council would actually come from the governor general because they appreciated those orders so much when he was the fisheries minister.

That piece of legislation unilaterally declared a 200 mile exclusive fishing zone in Canada. That is not the same as the exclusive economic zones, the EEZs, in other nations of the world. This was a unilateral action by Canada to save the fishing resource. That was in 1977.

When was the next piece of legislation that really broke new territory on behalf of the fishery in Canada? From 1977 until 1996 we had 10 years of Tory rule and not one piece of legislation was passed by this Chamber which we could call a historic piece of legislation.

Then we come to the year 1996. Again under a Liberal administration, this time under the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans who is the member from the historic riding of Bonavista-Trinity-Conception, legislation was brought in to do what the other nations have done. Instead of the exclusive fishing zone, we have declared an exclusive economic zone for Canada so that Canada can be a

part of the team of nations around the world that are trying to save the fisheries. We would have identical legislation.

Today this bill is truly a historic piece of legislation. Why is that? It is for the very reason that countries in Europe do not like the legislation. It is for the very reason that some countries in Europe, and yes the United States and quite a few other countries are objecting to this bill. The reason is that it gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans unusual powers to seize foreign fishing vessels which are fishing illegally, according to what the Canadian government is declaring, on the high seas adjacent to Canada's territorial zone.

When the opposition parties complain and say that this bill gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans too much power, they have to realize that we either have to do it or we do not do it. We have to give the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans the power to do things which are unusual under international law in order to save the fishery of Canada.

In Europe they are saying there are 14 articles which have extraterritorial effects. I have looked through this bill in the last 15 minutes trying to find those articles. I found some of them. One of the articles for example will allow the government in the future when an offence has been committed to seize a vessel that is owned by the same company that owned the vessel that committed the offence.

Let us say we had a fishing nation which violated the rules on bycatch in the NAFO zone which the hon. member was talking about.

What is a bycatch? A fisherman once defined it as a catch you accidentally catch when you're trying to catch another catch. It means that some fishermen use the bycatch rule of 10 per cent to catch more than 10 per cent of what they are allowed to catch.

Suppose the records of that vessel reach Canada after the fact. The vessel is gone. The skipper probably will not be seen in Canadian waters again and no charges under the present law can be brought against the company that owned the vessel. Under this bill Canada can now seize a vessel that belongs to the same company from the same foreign nation that committed the offence to satisfy a judgment.

An internal audit was done when the Tories were in power in 1985. It showed many cases of bribery, of money being exchanged, money being put in people's mailboxes to try to buy influence with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans by these foreign captains. A fisheries officials in one case found $25,000 in a mailbox. He immediately reported it to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Fisheries and Oceans knew who did it but they could not charge that fishing captain because he did not show up in Canadian waters again.

Under this legislation DFO will now be able to seize another vessel that belongs to that company from the foreign nation to satisfy the judgment.

I do not know the entire 14 articles to which the European Union is objecting, but one to which it is objecting is this. Under the bill the Canadian government will be able to bring charges against a stateless vessel on the high seas that is in a management zone of the northwest fishing organization to which the hon. member from the Bloc referred a few moments ago.

If a vessel from the United States of American-and we have them-constantly violates the fishing agreements entered into with countries that belong to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, charges cannot be brought against the American vessel because the U.S. does not belong to the organization. Under this bill we will be able to do that. There is a whole section on stateless vessels.

These are some of the things that the Bloc and Reform Party should be standing up and saying: "What a marvellous piece of legislation. Canada will be the first nation in the world to put some real teeth into enforcement to try to save the fishery" because the fishery needs to be saved. I think everybody would agree with that.

In the past, prior to 1993, Tory governments gave quotas to foreign nations. In the fall of 1979 Russia received a quota of 100,000 tonnes of capelin, the food of the cod fish. That Tory administration gave it a 100,000 tonne quota for 1980, thereby giving the Russians a higher quota of capelin than the entire Canadian fleet has ever caught in its entire history and then you wonder what happened to the fishery.

In 1985, 1986 and 1987 when fishermen were telling the politicians that there was a problem in the fishery the administration in power here in Ottawa continued to give out foreign licences. The Tories turned their backs and looked the other way when all the dragging was going on. They even encouraged it.

The hon. member from the Bloc represents an area of Quebec that has the best spawning area in the world for mackerel. The Tory administration actually gave Norway and Sweden licences for mackerel in Canadian waters which would stop the mackerel on their way to the spawning grounds at the end of May.

The Tory government, in the mid to latter part of the 1980s, gave licences to Cuba, Japan, Russia, to five fleets to catch another food of the cod, the squid, off the province of Nova Scotia. Can anyone imagine that?

For the Government of Canada to constantly say that it does not know if it is going to harm the cod fishery if it gives licences for fishing the food of the cod, it should know that the squid that were once in abundance on the coast of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, have disappeared. Why did they disappear? It was not Canadians who made them disappear. It was not Canadians who made the capelin disappear either.

They disappeared because of the foreign nations fishing in Canadian waters with licences given by the Tory administration in Ottawa. The squid come up in a narrow line. They are born in Florida, live for only one year and then go back. They know where to go. They die in Florida at the end of the year. However, the circle they make goes up the east coast of Canada in a thin line. Fishermen refer to it as the trans-Canada highway of squid.

Lo and behold, the previous Tory government gave licences to the Japanese, the Cubans and the Russians to block that passage of squid every single year in the 1980s. That is why we had no squid in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland.

As well, the Tories gave licences for all the fish we do not even think about here like argentine. They also gave licenses for another fish, a scrawny thing with a big swelled head, which reminds me of some of the politicians across the way. They gave licences for every species of fish in our waters and they gave them to foreigners.

Today these opposition parties should be standing up and congratulating the government by saying that this is the best news they have heard since the depletion of the cod fishery. Perhaps it is the single best piece of legislation that could ever be brought before the House of Commons, to be able to arrest stateless vessels that fly no flags and vessels on what is called the high seas outside of Canada's zone.

We need legislation to be able to govern what happens on the high seas, just as we need it when it comes to the attachment of wages act. Certain people in our society are excluded from the attachment of their wages. One of them is somebody who is on the high seas or somebody who is a seaman and another one is somebody in a foreign embassy. However, the government is bringing in legislation so that child support payments and so on can be retrieved from these people. Here is another piece of legislation which will grant the government powers on the high seas.

To conclude, the Bloc is against it, the Reform is against it, the NDP is against it and the Tories are against it. All of these nations quoted by Canadian Press are against it because those nations do not want to have their gigantic, huge draggers stopped around the Canadian coastline from ruining our fishery.

It is a historic day and a historic piece of legislation. Once again it has been brought in by a Liberal administration, the third such piece of legislation we have had in the past 20 years.

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10:55 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, as always I was very interested to hear the words of my hon. friend. I appreciate the work he does on this issue.

However, as he was speaking he held up a copy of the Fisheries Act amendments and it was plain to see the thickness of that document. There is a lot in that document that goes well beyond what the member was talking about.

We support the idea that Canada should play a much stronger role in managing the fishery in international waters where they affect Canadians and Canadian fishermen. I certainly agree with many of the remarks the member made about the Tories. However, we have all heard the expression: "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water". I am suggesting that with this bill Canadian fishermen and the Canadian people are going to be asked to drink a lot of stinking, rotten bath water to see a baby and that is not acceptable. There is a lot in this bill that is not acceptable and goes well beyond what this member was talking about.

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10:55 a.m.

Liberal

George Baker Liberal Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, I do not know. I did not see anything about dish water or anything like that in the legislation. I have sifted through it for about 15 minutes. I certainly do not see anything there. I suppose the hon. member is talking about the powers that are given to tribunals on each coast.

However, we have not heard the other side of that argument. Under this legislation some decisions are put directly in the hands of those people who are affected by the policies of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I do not see anything wrong with that. The government should have done that a long time ago.

Overriding all of that is the point that the government is being criticized by many nations today because of this legislation, as per the Canadian Press articles.

This is a great day for Canadian fishermen because the government is finally putting its foot down, putting some teeth in the legislation. The Reform Party and the Bloc should be standing up and saying: "This is a great day. We are going to just cut off debate on this and put it through in one day".

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10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, I know you want to ask questions. Maybe we will be able to hear them after question period.

It being 11 o'clock p.m., the House will now proceed to statements by members.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Georgette Sheridan Liberal Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak out against violence against women. Less than a decade ago this act was met with snickers in this House.

It is not so today, in part because of the greater number of women who now are represented in Parliament. But it is also because of the many women who refuse to remain silent any longer; groups like Saskatoon's December Memorial Committee, a collective of concerned women and women's groups who recognize that silence allows the violence to continue and who organized "Speaking Out: A Portrait Violence", a two-week awareness program designed to educate and increase public awareness through community events.

I commend the committee for its "Speaking Out" event, a memorial to the tragedy at École Polytechnique, but also a public forum in a safe environment for the survivors of violence to speak out their stories through art, music and words.

The power of their creative works and words brings our society one step closer to zero tolerance of violence against Canada's women and children.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this national day of remembrance and action on violence against women, it is with sadness that we remember the tragic event at École Polytechnique in Montreal in which 14 young women lost their lives.

That event has deeply marked the collective memory of Quebecers and Canadians. It compels us to think of the actions we must take to counter violence against women.

Too often, men use their physical strength to force women to accept their points of view. We must act on ingrained prejudices which perpetuate the inequality of women at home and in the community. Mentalities are changing but not fast enough. We must act in our families and in our communities to make sure that women always feel safe everywhere.

We must say no, loud and clear, to violence against women. From now on, it is zero tolerance.

Impaired DrivingStatements By Members

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Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. One of the greatest sources of violence against women, families and society is drunk driving.

Therefore I ask all hon. members to support Motion No. 78 from the member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley to strengthen penalties in the Criminal Code that deal with impaired driving offences. This would deter others and make penalties reflect the seriousness of this crime.

Representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving were here in Ottawa recently. Their executive director told my office: "All the polls we have done say this government has not been proactive on the whole issue of impaired driving".

Yearly over four times more people are killed by drunk drivers than are murdered. Yet this government enacted compulsory gun registration against law-abiding gun owners while it refused to pass Bill C-201 which would have sent drunk drivers who kill to jail for seven years. I urge this government to get its priorities straight and stop drunk driving.

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Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today in communities across Canada, men, women and children are gathering to remember the horrific events which occurred seven years ago at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal. On that December 6, 14 bright young women lost their lives in a senseless act of violence. In my community of London, Ontario there are several events planned to mark this anniversary and to remember all women who suffer violence.

We must help to end the violence with better understanding and education through governmental and non-governmental assistance. We must also do our part as legislators to pass relevant legislative measures.

I commend those who strive every day not only to reduce violence against women but who work with the victims of violence including the husbands, wives, children, siblings and friends who also become victimized, sometimes to the extent that later in life cycles of violence are repeated.

One day a year is set aside to recognize Canada's national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. Today the flag on the Peace Tower is flying at half mast. I strongly urge every Canadian-

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The Speaker

The hon. member for Nepean.

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Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, 7 years ago 14 bright, promising young women experienced hell on earth. Their crime? They were women. Their sentence was death. As I speak, other Canadian women are experiencing the horror of violence and intimidation.

The only fitting tribute to the slain women of l'École Polytechnique and to all victims of violence is to stop the violence and to say never again. Much is being done and I applaud those working with abused women and children. Services like those offered by the Nepean Community Resource Centre in my Ontario riding are providing counselling, outreach and services for children who witness violence. Those services strive to undo the damage.

Eliminating violence requires a commitment from all individuals. We must reject the stereotyping of women. The media must stop its glorification of violence and legislators at every level must enact laws to better protect our citizens. Canadians must unite against those who wreak death and terror. We must stand up and say never again.