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.