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House of Commons Hansard #163 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-65, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction; and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean had seven minutes remaining in debate.

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3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is probably my last speech of this 35th Parliament. It went by very fast. It was very little time indeed, compared to all my hon. colleagues.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents in the federal electoral district of Lac-Saint-Jean. As I said in my maiden speech, they have put their trust in me. They were not sure, in fact there was some controversy about it, whether they should put their trust in someone who did not have any experience in politics, wondering if it would lead to disaster if the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean was represented by a young, inexperienced person.

A year later, I am pleased to note that we can trust our young people, notwithstanding their lack of experience. I think things have gone rather smoothly this past year.

I did not have time to bring certain projects to full fruition, including Opération Maillage, a networking operation designed to bring together persons with different skills. It will probably not get under way before the election, but after, and I am very pleased because we will have successfully developed a new concept in Alma. People who have an idea for business, an entrepreneurial potential, and those who are looking for a business partner could get together and share their respective skills. Small businesses should emerge, that will create jobs.

Second, we will recall that, on the evening of December 29, as an elected member faced with a problem, I called a public meeting and I said: "You must take an active part, not only by paying your taxes and going to the polls every four years, but also by getting your ideas across".

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. I have put my trust in the people, and they have come up with solutions: a dozen policy thrusts we have been working on since January. People came up with a number of concrete proposals. I am delighted with what is happening in my riding.

Finally, it was a pleasure to work with my colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois, and I hope I will be able to continue to do so during a subsequent term. We hope so, and it is very likely we will, because we intend to run this campaign with a lot of determination.

Sometimes people ask me: "Do you really want to start campaigning again after just one year?" I think it is wonderful for an elected representative to get back on the campaign trail just a year after being elected. During your first campaign, you are not too sure how everything works, but now, a year later, when I go back to my constituents, I will be able to tell them first hand about what happens in the House of Commons.

I wanted to make this little aside since this will be my last speech in this 35th Parliament. I must say it was a wonderful experience, and I hope I will be able to repeat it in the years to come.

Now, back to Bill C-65. I started my speech before oral question period and had to stop because of lack of time. I had started on my general comments, the reasons we more or less agreed or did not agree at all with the bill.

Bill C-65 directly threatens areas under provincial jurisdiction. In fact, the Liberal government is using the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Biological Diversity as an excuse to encroach on areas under provincial jurisdiction.

This comes as no surprise. It is the usual duplication story. Expertise has been developed in the provinces, including Quebec, where we already have legislation to protect biodiversity, legislation that goes back to 1989. The provinces had the expertise. They knew the field. Everything was fine. However, the federal government is now intruding on these jurisdictions. In fact, there is something in the Constitution about this, but unfortunately, they want the prestige. They want this federal institution to have some prestige.

Actually, I find it hard to explain. Perhaps our colleagues opposite could explain the purpose of this intrusion, but I do not understand it at all.

Furthermore, Bill C-65 respects neither division of powers provided under the Constitution nor its traditional interpretation, because it is based on a much broader interpretation of the definition of federal territory and because the government does not respect the joint constitutional responsibility it shares with the

provinces with respect to certain species. This is in line with what I said earlier.

Third, Bill C-65 gives the Minister of the Environment broad discretionary powers, including that of appointing the members of COSEWIC, listing species identified as threatened or endangered by COSEWIC and implementing recovery plans.

The same problem arises on the subject of interference in jurisdictions. The bill provides that the minister will have broad discretionary powers, including with respect to decisions on appointments to COSEWIC. It reminds me of a lot of other bills. When a committee is to be struck, it is always the minister who gets to appoint his buddies. I listened to my colleague from Frontenac speaking on this earlier. The situation is an unfortunate one because the little Liberal family will remain cloistered, not really open to the public. They appoint their buddies, their pals, to pay off their debts.

I could go on at length because this really bothers me. What about all the Liberal candidates who were defeated in the 1993 elections? I think some 40 of them are now working in the Canadian public service, simply because they had good contacts, they did the party a favour and are being paid back. That is democracy for you.

This is all the time I have. I therefore wish you a fine election, Mr. Speaker. I hope to see you in September.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

That is too kind. The hon. member for Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead on a point of order.

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3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Bernier Bloc Mégantic—Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, could you determine whether or not we have a quorum?

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3:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

No, we do not have a quorum. Call in the members.

And the count having been taken:

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3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

We have a quorum. Debate.

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3:20 p.m.

Cape Breton Highlands—Canso Nova Scotia

Liberal

Francis Leblanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe if you seek it you will find consent for the following:

That all motions at report stage of Bill C-65 be deemed to have been put and a recorded division requested and deferred once debate is completed for each grouping.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, let me understand. This morning we had a motion, by unanimous consent, that all motions were to be deemed to be moved and seconded. Do I understand the hon. member correctly that he is adding something to that? Is there a word in there that I have missed? They are deemed to be moved and seconded.

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3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Leblanc Liberal Cape Breton Highlands—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, you will have to bear with me. I am following instructions. They have been deemed to have been put and a recorded division requested and deferred once debate is completed for each of the groupings.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I understand. Does the hon. member have the permission of the House to put the motion?

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3:20 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question. We might agree to the motion being moved, depending on its content. But I believe that in the motion, my hon. colleague is asking that the motions be deemed moved and the divisions deferred.

If the divisions are deferred, to when will they be deferred? If it is later today, that is one thing, but if it is Monday, that is altogether different. I would like the motion to specify when the divisions will be deferred to and then we will see if we can support it.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

To answer your question, dear colleague, usually all divisions are deferred to the end of the debate. If this is today, fine, if it is another day, this is fine too. Usually, it is at the end of the debate. Does this answer your question?

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in that case, I believe my colleague's motion is useless. He moved that the divisions be deferred. When the debate ends, we will ask that the divisions be deferred. Does this motion still serve any purpose then?

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3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleague, it is not up to the chair to decide when the debate will end, it is up to the House.

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3:25 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

We could ask my colleague.

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3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

We will put the question to our colleague and we will see if he has an answer.

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3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Just for clarification for the House and the Bloc members opposite, what we are trying to do here is precisely what we have done in the past, with Bill C-44 for example. We can speed up debate on this particular issue, but at the same time group these amendments so that these amendments can be dealt with at the end, rather than individually throughout the whole period. We are speeding up debate so that everyone will have a chance to speak and then we are grouping these at the end of the day so that we can deal with them at once at the end.

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3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I would put a question to the hon. member for Cape Breton-Highlands-Canso. Do you, my colleague, want to put it to a specific time? I think that is what the question is. If you could indicate this to me, we could get this straightened out.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Leblanc Liberal Cape Breton Highlands—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, my understanding is it is until the next sitting day. Does that make sense to you?

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3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

At the next sitting of the House.

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3:25 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

If the motion moved by my colleague means that he wants to defer to the next sitting, then we support it.

[English]

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3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have permission to put the motion?

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3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

To be even clearer, I understand that we have to vote, but the final vote can be deferred, this is fine. I still would like to understand the motion moved by the member for Cape Breton Highlands-Canso.

There are five groups of motions. Does this mean that the divisions on Group No. 1, Group No. 2, Group No. 3, Group No. 4 and Group No. 5 will only take place at the end? There will be no need to have five members rise to ask they be put to the vote.

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3:25 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

That is right. They will all be deferred to Monday.