Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to participate in the debate today. It is a double pleasure because the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence gave me the honour of chairman of the Canadian section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence between Canada and the United States.
This Permanent Joint Board on Defence was formed through a meeting of Prime Minister Mackenzie King and President Roosevelt at Ogdensburg, New York on August 18, 1940. They came out with a joint statement issuing the announcement of this permanent joint board. That board has been meeting since 1940, sometimes more than twice a year. Now it is twice a year with one meeting in
Canada and one in the United States. The last meeting of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence was in Kingston on October 10 to 12, 1995. The 197th meeting will be held in the first week of April in the United States. I am the Canadian chair and Dwight Mason is the chairman of the U.S. section. He reports to President Clinton and I report to the Prime Minister of Canada.
It is at those meetings that we did discuss the renewal of the NORAD agreement. Is it okay as it is? Is there something lacking in the agreement that we should build in? We talked about the inclusion of something about protecting the environment. I am pleased the Minister of Foreign Affairs already mentioned that if there is any environmental dispute, it would be referred to the Permanent Joint Board on Defence between Canada and the United States.
The NORAD treaty is reflective of the positive and co-operative relationship that Canada and the United States have in so many areas. Our two countries are linked by defence, a dense web of common interest in a wide variety of areas. NORAD represents a highly valuable element of the defence web.
Since both ministers and other speakers before me have already given the content of the NORAD agreement, I would like to take this time to show how our two countries co-operate in other areas for the defence and security of our two countries, for example in the environment, energy and transportation.
Our two countries are stewards of much of the North American environment. Our mutual care of this environment is a model for the world. Our bilateral environmental relations are marked by a high degree of co-operation. Geography has made joint action and sensitivity to the rights and needs of each other a matter of both necessity and common sense.
Canada and the United States share a border close to 9,000 kilometres along over 300 rivers and lakes. Wildlife migrates back and forth across this border and air currents flow in both directions. To a significant degree, each country depends on the other to ensure that the great wealth of natural resources each possesses is managed in a sustainable fashion and that a high level of environmental quality is provided to its citizens.
Over the years a dynamic and multifaceted legal institutional framework for managing our shared environmental resources has evolved. This framework consists of both formal and informal arrangements.
At the formal level the oldest mechanism is the boundary waters treaty negotiated way back in 1909 between the United States and Great Britain on behalf of Canada. This treaty established the legal framework for the use and management of transboundary waters by the two countries. It created the International Joint Commission to prevent and resolve disputes. The commission has earned an international reputation for its handling of transboundary environmental issues in an independent, objective and collegial manner.
The treaty is a remarkable document which, to the credit of those who drafted it, has withstood the test of time. Among its notable provisions are those giving each country equal rights to the use of boundary waters and prohibiting the pollution of these waters by either country.
The 1991 air quality agreement provides a forward looking framework for addressing transboundary air quality issues and for establishing new commitments to control other transboundary air pollution problems in the future.
Other important agreements include the 1916 migratory birds convention, which is one of the oldest and most effective conservation treaties in North America, and the 1986 North American waterfowl management plan, which aims to restore continental migratory waterfowl populations.
In addition there is the 1978 Great Lakes water quality agreement. This agreement is perhaps the best example of constructive Canada-U.S. co-operation on environmental issues. First signed in 1972, the agreement provides a framework for cleaning up our most significant shared resource. Although more work needs to be done particularly in eliminating the input of persistent toxic substances, great strides have been made in restoring the lakes to an acceptable level of quality for the benefit of citizens on both sides of the border.
In addition to formal arrangements, there is a network of informal ad hoc linkages between various levels and departments of our two governments. Co-operative arrangements have also been forged between our provinces and the state governments in the U.S.A. The provinces are of special importance in the environmental area due to the significant responsibilities they have for natural resources and environmental management. Just as Canada and the United States must work together on environmental issues, so too must the federal and provincial governments.
An additional and valuable component of the Canada-United States environmental relationship is the many linkages that have been developed between environmental interest groups and between business and industry in both countries.
What this myriad of formal and informal linkages have in common is the recognition that air, water and wildlife do not stop at national borders. A case in point is the situation of the Porcupine caribou herd which is crucial to the life and livelihood of Canadian aboriginal communities. In a 1987 agreement Canada and the United States recognized that this herd is a shared resource. As a result, both governments are concerned about any plans that would cause harm to the herd's main calving grounds in Alaska.
It is important to note in this debate on the NORAD renewal that the new NORAD agreement will include a clause that provides for Canada-U.S. discussions of the environmental implications of NORAD operations. This underscores that sound environmental relations between Canada and the United States have become an important dimension in all areas of the bilateral relationship. It also underscores the recognition of the need to address in a consistent manner north and south of the border the environmental implications of joint defence activities. As I mentioned, the minister already mentioned in his remarks what happens if there is an environmental dispute when we are co-operating in NORAD exercises and activities.
Moving to the energy sector, Canada and the United States have a co-operative relationship which has benefited both countries for many years. Our energy relationship is governed by the principles of deregulation and non-discrimination within the framework of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. That is why I do not think we should get too uptight when Jesse Helms tries to pass legislation in the United States which affects Canadian businesses. We do have the NAFTA rules to go to and we have the World Trade Organization rules to refer to.
The success of Canada's oil and gas export industry in the United States is impressive by any standard. Canada is one of the United States' leading oil suppliers. Our current oil exports of one million barrels per day could increase as new developments such as the Hibernia field come on stream. Canadian natural gas now represents some 12 per cent of the U.S. market. Opportunities should grow as Canada's dynamic petroleum producing and pipeline companies continue to work closely with their U.S. partners.
Canada and the U.S. have a long history of electricity trade dating back to the first export of Niagara Falls power in 1901. We co-operate very closely on power issues within the context of the Niagara River treaty and the Columbia River treaty. Today Canadian provincial utilities export well over $1 billion in electricity to the U.S.A. However, we face important challenges in the coming years and I will briefly refer to some of them.
The U.S. electricity industry is now undergoing deregulation and restructuring. Current U.S. proposals may require Canadian electricity exporters to offer open access transmission in Canada if they wish to receive similar access in the U.S. The Canadian electricity industry and the Canadian government generally welcome new U.S. market opportunities offered by deregulation. However, the structure of the Canadian industry is different from that of the United States, with a small number of very large publicly owned utilities and provincial jurisdiction over electricity generation and distribution.
Canada too is moving toward electricity deregulation, but the pace of change in Canada may be different. We will work with the U.S. to ensure its co-operation in continuing our strong bilateral relationship during the transition. Together, Canada and the United States are putting in place advanced efficient energy systems that facilitate economic growth in both countries.
In the bilateral transportation area, NAFTA and open skies have expanded Canada-U.S. commerce and tourism tremendously. For example, Canada and the U.S. now trade $1 billion Canadian per day and open skies has helped Canadian Airlines International increase its transborder passenger traffic by 84 per cent. Air Canada traffic grew by 24 per cent. Last year more than one million people crossed the Canada-U.S. border.
These accomplishments put new stresses on the border however at a time of decreasing government resources for staff and infrastructure on both sides of the border. In response to the new realities of border management, Canada and the U.S.A. announced the accord on our shared border during President Clinton's February 1995 visit to Ottawa. This is a significant achievement.
The border accord is an agreement between the Canadian and U.S. border inspection agencies to jointly modernize and improve border management. The border accord functions as an umbrella agreement for various individual initiatives.
For individual travellers the CANPASS/INSPASS programs at airports and CANPASS/PORTPASS on highways allow frequent travellers to cross the border via special lanes. Rather than face a customs or immigration officer, travellers pass through an automated gate that is activated by a personal identifier such as a fingerprint or hand geometry. Duties can be paid by credit card. CANPASS is now available when entering Canada at the two highway crossings in B.C. and at the Vancouver airport. It is expected at all of the Pearson terminals, Dorval and Mirabel by the fall of 1996.
For commercial traffic, the NAFTA prototype will harmonize border documents and procedures in all NAFTA countries. Documentation will be shared electronically. New transponder technology will read electronic signals from properly documented trucks and allow them to cross the border without stopping. A prototype of this system is expected to be on line at Buffalo-Fort Erie this year.
Canada and the U.S.A. also co-operate on preclearance services. For example, since the 1950s air preclearance in Canadian airports has allowed U.S. customs and immigration officers to preclear U.S. bound passengers into the U.S.A. before crossing the border giving Canada based travellers direct access to the huge U.S. air network.
In the autumn of 1995 Canada and the U.S.A. agreed to extend preclearance services to the Ottawa airport. The U.S.A. is considering establishing preclearance services at Halifax. Other U.S. preclearance services are provided for the Vancouver-Seattle train service and for ferries travelling between B.C., Washington and Alaska.
When we look at the NORAD renewal we should not only be looking at that one agreement between our two countries. We should look at the whole mass of treaties and agreements we have to demonstrate to the world how our two countries live together in peace and harmony. We live together taking into account that air currents and water currents do not stop at a border; they travel back and forth. And so with our defence and with our security we must also look at the defence and security of North America.