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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

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take a few minutes to speak to Bill C-65, although everyone knows obviously that we are simply keeping the House occupied.

We expect the election to be called at any moment, and today, yesterday, the day before yesterday and for the past week, the government has been using every means at its disposal to gain time, to pass the time. Now they put before us a bill we know full well will not get beyond the walls of this House. It will never receive royal assent or come into force.

While it contains a mechanism for inclusion on the list of species at risk and a recovery plan for species at risk, the bill contains over 100 clauses that should be completely reviewed and returned to the drawing board, because they bear no relation to the expectations of those consulted.

The committee consulted many organizations. However, it did not take the representations and observations of these consultations into account. This is not the first time the government has behaved this way. We have seen this behaviour in the case of other bills, where consultation was simply a matter of form, and served either to spend money or to expend people's energy. In terms of time, it cost a lot. Were the opinions considered? Absolutely not.

This bill should be totally reworked for other reasons as well. It is not only a matter of consultation. The bill does not honour a fine promise the government made as enunciated by the Prime Minister, who said, in the speech from the throne on February 27, 1996, and I quote: "The federal government will propose to the provinces a much strengthened process to work in partnership, focussing on such priorities as food inspection, environmental management, social housing, tourism and freshwater fish habitat".

The action taken by this government was totally contrary to the remarks of the Prime Minister. Instead of including provincial authorities in the process of designating and re-establishing threatened and endangered species, the government is excluding them. Yet another broken promise.

Bill C-65 does absolutely nothing in that regard. Worse still, the actions of the Liberal environment minister seem very suspicious. First, he convenes a meeting of the provincial ministers of the environment to get an agreement in principle on the protection of endangered species. However, just four weeks later, the minister tables his bill which, in many respects, is totally contrary to the agreement in principle that he just obtained.

Let me quote Quebec's Minister of the Environment. Even though he attended the meetings and signed the agreement, the minister said: "We could not remain indifferent to the fact that this agreement opens the door to overlap between some future federal act and the legislation which has been in effect in Quebec since 1989 and which works very well. We risk creating more red tape instead of dedicating ourselves to what really matters to us: the fate of endangered species". This is what the Quebec Minister of the Environment wrote to his federal counterpart.

Time proved him right. Just look at the bill before us. It creates all sorts of overlap. The main objection from Quebec to this bill is that the federal government keeps changing the rules by extending the territory where a given species is found. This is important when it comes to determining the applicable jurisdiction. The federal government even tries to gain more power by extending the scope of the definition of "federal land".

The bill requires co-operation between the federal government and the provinces when, in fact, several provinces oppose this legislation. Once again, the federal government wants to impose its own jurisdiction, after promising harmonization. Therefore, this bill directly threatens the jurisdiction of the provinces, under the pretence that the government wants to meet the requirements of the international convention on biological diversity. The Liberal government is trying to interfere in an area of provincial jurisdiction.

This government is increasing overlap. In all areas, particularly regional development, there is extensive interference by the federal government. It goes over the provinces' heads. It negotiates

directly with municipalities and with community, humanitarian and tourist organizations. It has no use for provincial jurisdiction.

This bill is also troubling because it leaves the way open for the federal government to negotiate directly with municipal administrations, as I was saying earlier. This gives the minister the power to interfere in environmental matters because the implementation, and I do mean implementation, of measures and programs related to wildlife conservation can cover a wide range of activities without necessarily respecting constitutional authority.

More specifically, the minister will be able to sidestep provincial governments by once again negotiating directly with municipalities. The Bloc Quebecois introduced several amendments in this regard providing for greater provincial involvement, but they were ignored by the Liberal majority.

I would also like to speak about the discretionary authority this bill gives the minister. In fact, the Minister of the Environment calls all the shots with respect to implementation. He may make appointments to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. He has the authority to decide whether or not species are included on the list. He decides whether or not to implement a recovery plan. All decisions therefore rest with him.

The minister himself is responsible for the composition of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. We know that it will have nine members and that the minister may appoint whomever he wishes. This is another opportunity for this government to reward friends of the regime, major contributors to the Liberal Party slush fund, or perhaps to cheer up Liberal candidates defeated in the election.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate on Bill C-65 and on the amendments. Before I offer a critical analysis of this bill I want to say that the Reform Party and I support unequivocally the responsible protection of endangered species. However, we do not support Bill C-65 in its present form. When I speak to the bill I speak also to the amendments that are coming.

Before I outline why we take this position I will tell the House that there has been a significant outcry from within and outside my riding in opposition to this legislation.

I quote Mr. Roy Staveley, acting senior vice-president of B.C. Hydro: "The next issue I would like to touch on is public involvement. B.C. Hydro agrees that Canadians should have opportunities to share knowledge and participate in efforts to protect and recover species at risk. The most effective way of doing this is by maintaining an open and transparent process. We feel that the Canadian endangered species protection act needs more provisions for consultation with affected parties throughout the process, from listing of species to preparation and implementation of recovery plans.

"The protection of species at risk will best be attained through partnerships with key stakeholders. However, as currently written, the proposed legislation results in duplication of federal, provincial and territorial regulatory authorities. This would be inconsistent with the harmonization and intergovernmental approaches to environmental protection or the national accord and will likely result in jurisdictional disputes, duplication, poor enforcement and administration, public confusion and inefficient allocation of scarce resources".

I like very much the way the hon. Stephen Kakfwi, minister of lands and renewable resources of the Government of the Northwest Territories summarizes this: "I suggest that the fundamental problem presented by the proposed legislation as tabled in Parliament is that it is inconsistent with both the spirit and the intent of the hard work done by all jurisdictions, including the federal government, to establish a co-operative national approach to protecting the interests of endangered species. The irony here is that the best intentions have been asserted but this in turn has given rise to the erosion of the best plans".

The outcry is also locally heard in my constituency of Cariboo-Chilcotin. Let me read to the House some of the letters I have received. A resident in Williams Lake stated: "This legislation will do very little to address concerns about endangered species but goes a long way to starting a war in the courts and opens the door for groups with no concern for the social and economic impact or the inviability this act would bring to working people, be they forest workers, farmers, ranchers or miners. The courts and lawyers are going to have a heyday with this one".

From the city of Quesnel, council members passed a resolution opposing Bill C-65 due to a lack of any requirement to consider social, economic or community impacts; due to a lack of any requirement to provide redress for affected workers in their communities; due to a lack of any guarantee that workers, communities or other affected stakeholders will participate in recovery plan design.

From the village of Clinton the council stated: "Bill C-65 raises some significant concerns for the major industries of British Columbia, mainly forestry and mining. These two industries are the backbone of the economy in British Columbia and will be put at severe risk with the implementation of Bill C-65. Council believes that Ottawa should listen".

I could not agree more with this comment. Ottawa should listen to what the people of Canada are saying about Bill C-65. The people and the municipalities from all walks of life that I have just

quoted have legitimate concerns and they are rightly justified in feeling as they do. They know that Bill C-65 is a bad piece of legislation and they want this government to listen and to respond to what they are saying.

Some of the reasons Bill C-65 is a bad bill have already been mentioned in the statements I have just read but let me elaborate for the House on some of them. These are the reasons Reform cannot accept Bill C-65 in its present form.

First, the committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada, a nine member board appointed by the minister, will decide what species are at risk, how much risk, where the habitat is crucial and advise the minister on what should be done to help the species recover.

There is no guarantee that effective stakeholders will participate in the recovery plan design. This means that private land owners could be forced to make special provision for some endangered species. For example, a rancher may have to fence off an area of his land to protect an endangered species nesting ground from grazing livestock. Unfortunately Bill C-65 offers no compensation to rancher for the use of his material and time or for leaving productive land dormant or for the drop in the value of his property.

Let me tell the House a story of a situation that happened in Ontario about five years ago that relates to this point.

Mrs. Strumillo-Orleanowicz owned a 100 acre parcel of undeveloped land near Smiths Falls, Ontario. To start up a business she planned to sever a building lot. Unfortunately the Minister of Natural Resources denied her permission to do this. Why? Mrs. Strumillo-Orleanowicz' neighbour owned land next door to her property that was inhabited by the endangered loggerhead shrike. To help protect the bird, the province designated 123.5 acres around the shrike's home as its critical habitat. As a result Mrs. Strumillo-Orleanowicz could not sever or develop her land to make a profit. Her creditors foreclosed on the property and she lost everything. The government gave her no compensation.

Bill C-65's second flaw is that it jeopardizes the rights and livelihood of responsible land owners by expanding the rights of activist groups to go to court to stop resource development. It is interesting that those who turn in a neighbour can remain completely anonymous, not allowing the accused to face the accuser.

For example, under section 60 of the legislation, a bureaucrat or an eco-vigilante could sue a forest worker, rancher, land owner or company that he or she thinks has harmed an endangered species or its habitat. This means that there is a possibility that the courts will be filled to overflowing with actions against land owners.

How will land owners respond to this possibility of being taken to court? Their reaction will be a negative one and endangered species will come out on the losing end. For example, according to cattle producers who spoke to the environment committee, land owners will have to seriously consider ways of reducing their exposure to legislative actions and loss of income and value resulting from constraints on use. The obvious and cheapest route will be to eliminate wildlife habitat on their land and specifically habitat that is attractive to species that could at some point be listed as threatened or endangered. There is evidence that the American endangered species law has already had this undesired effect in some areas of the United States.

The third flaw of Bill C-65 is that it tramples the basic principles of justice. For example, under the bill authorities could seize private property and provide no compensation if the property is considered a critical habitat for an endangered species.

In addition, Bill C-65 allows bureaucrats to search and seize private property without a warrant if, by reason of exigent circumstances, it would not be feasible to obtain a warrant. This is a characteristic of the government which is very frightening where the government is prepared to thwart the historic rights and privileges of people to impose its own view of the way things should be. This provision is completely unacceptable to Canadians.

Reform has put 42 amendments to Bill C-65. These amendments would require the minister to consider the socioeconomic impacts prior to recommending what action should be taken. We would like to have compensation, a commitment to the preservation of endangered species and we would like the co-operation of all stakeholders involved.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-65, the Canada Endangered Species Protection Act.

Although there were a few federal laws allowing the federal government to intervene in order to protect these species, there was no federal legislation directly devoted to protecting endangered species. This was not the case in Quebec, which has had its own law since 1989, or in other provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick, however.

In 1978, a body was created which brought together certain organizations such as government agencies, the provinces, certain territories, four federal bodies, and three national conservation organizations.

Before this bill was tabled, the Minister of the Environment brought his provincial counterparts together in Charlottetown to

draft this bill. We are often told that there was an agreement in principle but, four weeks later, this agreement in principle was obtained without the bill, or the texts per se, being tabled and we know there was an enormous difference.

The Quebec Minister, David Cliche, made the following statement on November 26, 1996: "The federal minister has just tabled a bill in the House which worries the province of Quebec considerably. I must place this in its context, for it shows the difficulties of federal-provincial relations. I recently defended the interests of Quebec in relation to the environment and wildlife, while representing Quebec at Charlottetown. We reached agreement, and even signed a document to the effect, as I have already said, that if the federal government tabled legislation for the protection of endangered species under federal jurisdiction, it ought to respect the jurisdictions of the provinces, and in particular of the territories".

Mr. Cliche went on to say: "We thought we had reached agreement with Ottawa on the following principle, a simple one besides, and this is where all of the problem lies in this bill, I believe: If we agree that a species is endangered, it is up to the level of government with jurisdiction over the territory and the habitat of that animal to ensure that it is properly protected in its natural habitat".

Once again, we have before us a bill that I might describe, in a nutshell, as an attempt by the federal government to use the convention on biological diversity to justify encroaching on a provincial jurisdiction and centralizing powers at the federal level. But as we can see, that is not the case. They are trying to enact a law that goes against existing provincial legislation. Again, in yet another area, we will end up being governed by two acts, which will just create more enforcement problems.

What major problems are we looking at? There are four of them. First, we submit that Bill C-65 is a direct threat to provincial jurisdiction. This is the fundamental problem with this bill. The government is interfering in an area of provincial jurisdiction and, with this bill, tries to tell the provinces what they should do from now on.

As I said a moment ago, under the pretence of attempting to comply with the terms of the international convention on biological diversity, the Liberal government is trying to interfere in provincial areas of responsibility. That is the first problem with this bill.

Second, Bill C-65 ignores the distribution of powers provided for in the Constitution-I will come back to this in a moment-and the usual interpretation of this provision, because it is based on a much broader definition of territory and overlooks the fact that, under the Constitution, the federal government and the provinces share responsibility for certain species.

The third major problem is that Bill C-65 gives the Minister of the Environment broad discretionary powers to decide, among

other things, who will be appointed to the COSEWIC. We will recall that this is the committee established in 1978, whose work was done on a voluntary basis. With this bill, the members of this committee will not only be selected by the minister but they will also be paid.

Finally, the fourth major problem is that Bill C-65 excludes provincial authorities from the designation and recovery of threatened and endangered species. This attitude directly contradicts what was said by the Liberals, more specifically in statements by the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister and in the throne speech, which were all about harmonization and partnership.

If we look at the Constitution, the protection of species and their habitat is not included in the division of powers under the Constitution Act, 1867, which is to be expected. It is not clearly defined.

However, under this act, the provinces have jurisdiction over the management of public lands belonging to the province, in section 92 on property and civil rights,and over all matters of a merely local or private nature. These powers are sufficiently broad to enable the provinces to pass legislation on plants and wildlife, both on provincial public land and private land.

In other words, we see that although the Constitution Act, 1867, does not clearly define these responsibilities, the provinces have as much jurisdiction over land as the federal government. Today, the government wants to pass legislation that would practically eliminate provincial responsibility and establish federal responsibility once and for all, as we have seen in so many other instances. In fact, we have the same problem with respect to duplication and overlap.

In concluding, I want to say, as I said earlier, that the members of this committee, which has been existence since 1978, at the time worked on a volunteer basis. They will now be paid, which will be an additional expense. Furthermore, they will be selected by the minister.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, previously there were consultations among the parties regarding a motion that I would like to propose at this time. I move:

That the House agree to split the current Part III Estimates documents into Reports on Plans and Priorities and Performance Reports and require all departments and

agencies to table, on a pilot basis for the 1997-98 fiscal year, for consideration by the appropriate committees:

  1. pilot development Performance Reports in the Fall timed with the President's Report on Review; and

  2. pilot Reports on Plans and Priorities, including detailed financial information presented according to appropriate vote structure in a consistent manner, to be tabled on or before the last sitting day before March 31 and referred to committees and reported back to the House pursuant to Standing Order 81(4).

For the benefit of the House, I believe there were consultations with the Reform Party member for St. Albert and the Bloc member for Saint Hyacinth-Bagot. I have the signed authorization.

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is there unanimous consent for the motion of the hon. member?

Business Of The HouseGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-65, an act to respecting the protection of wildlife species in Canada from extirpation or extinction, as reported (with amendments) from the committee; and of Motions Nos. 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 19, 25, 27, 50, 54, 56 to 60, 62, 63, 65, 66 and 82 to 109.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak on the endangered species act.

In British Columbia, maybe more than any other province in Canada, environmental protection, endangered species legislation and legislation concerning everything from the protection of bears to whatnot are on the political agenda routinely. These issues crop up in our papers. We have environmental writers. We have quite a movement in British Columbia of people concerned about the environment. Perhaps it is because of our ocean habitat, the rivers or the salmon. I do not know what it is. Maybe it is the salt air. Whatever it is, people are concerned about the environment.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Are the Liberals endangered out there?

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Perhaps they are concerned about Liberals being an endangered species. Just because we are on the eve of an election we cannot assume that. I know for sure the Tories are, but I do not want to get rhetorical here.

I would like to mention two or three concerns of people about environmental legislation. There is broad consensus in British Columbia for public information and education on the environment being near the top of everyone's list of political concerns. Who knows why that is?

My riding gets 60 or 70 inches of rain a year. Everything from how manure is handled on dairy farms to the way logging roads are constructed in nearby mountains are key environmental concerns because what we see up the road today is likely to be washed down into our fields the day after. They are political concerns and real concerns of the people in my area.

There is also the other side. Another group of people have concerns about this type of legislation being so intrusive and restrictive on their economic activity that they cannot go about doing any modern activity without being called down by the government or being called on the carpet for supposedly harming the environment. If we take it to the extreme, too many people breathing in the lower mainland causes some kind of harm to the environment but we understand we have to deal with it the best we can.

The legislation as currently proposed is not the best way to deal with the endangered species problems in Canada. It is too intrusive. It does not take into account safe economic activity on land, whether it be farming, ranching, logging or whatever it might be.

I will refer to an example from my background. Before I came to this place I was a logging contractor. I spent my life in the woods working close to the environment. About 10 years ago the issue of the spotted owl, an endangered species by definition, became a big problem in the lower mainland. To those who are not aware, the spotted owl's supposed territory is all the rain forests of the Pacific northwest including the United States and extending a few hundred miles into the coastal rain forests of British Columbia.

The United States has similar endangered species legislation. The concern there for the spotted owl was so overwhelming that the forests were shut down. Logging was curtailed. Logging towns became ghost towns. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs. The spotted owl was a happy little owl but the damage it caused economically totalled billions of dollars.

The spotted owl scare worked its way north into British Columbia. The spotted owl patrols began. University students, hopefully biology majors, were hired on summer vacation. Late at night they would go two by two into the woods, because it was environmentally safe to do so, where we were logging and would park their campers. At night they would broadcast tape recordings of spotted owls hooting. If they thought they heard another spotted owl respond in the distance, if they heard it hoot in the background, they would tick on their chart that there was another spotted owl somewhere. It was close by. Although they did not see it they knew it was there. They would say they heard an owl hoot in the night and would therefore shut down the logging in the entire drainage. Who knows if there were spotted owls? Nobody ever saw them but maybe they were there.

To show how silly it was, not only did the area extend several hundred miles into British Columbia but they had on their charts that spotted owls maintain their nests between 2,500 feet of elevation and 3,500 feet of elevation. That is prime logging area. A lot of the logging I did was at those levels of elevation and a lot was done up to 4,500 feet.

This is true confession time. One day we were building road in a valley. No one had ever seen or heard of a spotted owl there. Nobody really knew what they looked like. We came upon a nest in a tree and, scout's honour, it was a spotted owl's nest. There was such an animal and it was in the tree. We shut down all the logging. We shut down the road building and went to the environmentalists in the forest service office to tell them we had seen a spotted owl. We had been to the mountain top and saw the spotted owl.

They were pretty excited. Then they looked at their maps and said: "Wait a minute. You are building road at 4,000 feet. That is not the range of spotted owls. They only go to 3,500 feet. That can't be a spotted owl". We argued with them that it was a spotted owl, that we had seen it and that they should come to see it. They looked again and said: "No. Our range of spotted owls only goes to 3,500 feet so it cannot be a spotted owl. Build the road right over top of the tree". We refused to do that. We managed to get around the tree and save the spotted owl. This shows how ridiculous it can be at times to ask a modern industrial society to make allowances for spotted owls. Then when one is found and because it did not fit into some imaginary criteria they did not care about it.

The other spotted owl site is in a logging area where I spent my youth with my parents. The universities come to investigate the spotted owl that has built a nest right beside the main logging road where 40 to 50 loads of logs go by every day. The university people drive right up to the bottom of this big tree. They all stand there with their binoculars and look at this spotted owl who gets along just fine in an area where there has been logging going on for the last 40 years.

The legislation should not go through in its current form as it has too many flaws. In British Columbia the devastation cannot be overstated. Roads can be built through an entire valley system at a cost of millions. The company we contracted built the roads. After the roads were built they came in to check if there were any spotted owls. After the road is built and the work is done they say: "I think I heard a spotted owl hoot so there is no logging allowed in this valley". Business cannot be done like that.

I remember saying to them: "If there are endangered species tell us and we will work around them, but do not make arbitrary rules and put us in a position where we spend a lot of money that you cannot compensate us for". Reasonable compensation has to be worked into the legislation so that farmers, ranchers and loggers are able to do their work while they protect the environment.

I do not believe the legislation does that. That is why the amendments are necessary. We are grateful the bill will not pass in this session of Parliament.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take a few minutes to talk to Bill C-65. I think I could fairly summarize my thoughts by saying, something my colleagues have said as well, that I consider this another major intrusion by the federal in areas of jurisdiction of the provinces, and this of course includes Quebec.

I have looked at two quotes from letters the Quebec minister of the environment sent to his colleague in the House of Commons, one of which concerns the section on interpretation. Mr. Cliche said, and I quote: "Thus the federal government's definition of federal land for the purposes of the bill has no relation to reality. We never understood that the management of fish stocks or inland or coastal waters navigation meant that the federal government had jurisdiction over all aquatic ecosystems, along with the seabed and subsoil below and the airspace above these waters".

Here is another quote from this same letter regarding the measures to protect listed species: "Furthermore, it seems incongruous for the purposes of the bill to liken the migratory travel of species from one country to another or their geographic distribution on either side of a border to the import and export of goods and services. In introducing a new notion, that of cross border species, the federal government could be giving itself extended jurisdiction over the vast majority of species in a province".

It seems clear to me that the Government of Quebec does not support this bill any more than the Bloc Quebecois, since, as I have just said, it is another intrusion into an area of jurisdiction that does not belong to the federal government. However, as it always does, the federal government is trying to find a breach to slip through. This is what we consider to be the aim of this bill-an attempt to meddle in provincial jurisdiction.

Quebecers are not the only ones to think the bill is not all that great, native peoples do too. I had the pleasure of looking at the brief presented by the native peoples. In short, they feel that the bill does not really take their needs into account and that they are being largely ignored, as is usually the case.

Finally, I have been made aware of the native approach to endangered species. Canadians are probably to be blamed for the

disaster as a whole. The natives' philosophy, as told by their elders and the younger generations, is that the earth is their mother. The birds, the plants and the animals are their brothers and sisters. They believe that water and streams are rather like the blood vessels of mother earth.

They have a philosophy of tremendous respect for nature as a whole, including the fauna and the flora. They believe this bill shows no respect for either their culture or their approach to the environment.

I have noticed that it is the economic development practices, which can not longer be sustained by the ecosystems, that are endangering species. It is not native peoples, it is not campers, it is not nature loving individuals who are endangering species. It is not people who respect nature who are threatening endangered species, but rather economic development methods and practices.

I saw some pretty terrible things when visiting aboriginal people in parts of Canada that are the subject of native land claims. For example, in Nisga'a, Chilcotin and Carrier-Sekani territory, some clear cutting is being done and it is extremely destructive. I think clear cutting is the main reason for the extinction of some species.

My Reform Party colleague was laughing at the fact that we wanted to save part of a forest just because we heard a owl hooting. I think there might be a reasonable compromise between the two extremes, but clear cutting is certainly not contributing to the protection of endangered species.

The same goes for mining, another area of economic development which victimizes aboriginal people. I am thinking here about the Dene in the Northwest Territories, in Nunavut, who are being squeezed by diamond mines. Mining exploration endangers plant and animal life. Endangered species are certainly threatened by this type of exploration.

The same situation exists near Voisey Bay, in Innu territory. The people there object to the drilling taking place in a region with what may be one of the richest mines in the world. Once again, their opinion is being overlooked, the lands they claim as theirs are being invaded and the natural resources on these lands will be pillaged. Once the natural resources have been plundered-the forests cut down and the mines exhausted-we turn to the natives and tell them: "Now, we are willing to consider your land claims". Mining activities and clear cutting have a major impact on endangered species.

I could talk about the hydro projet included in the Northern Flood Agreement, in Manitoba, which was harmful to the Crees in the province. This week, we passed Bills C-39 and C-40, which will compensate natives for the flooding of their land, but the creation of an artificial lake probably ten times too large, for the purpose of producing electricity, means that groups and species are certainly being threatened by this uncontrolled economic development project.

As far as the east coast is concerned, I would also like to mention the extensive fishing in the area where we find the Micmac, a people which calls itself people of the dawn. Today, fish stocks have dwindled and natives can no longer fish, something that has always been part of their traditions.

These are examples of our disregard for native people. Yet, our First Nations are very concerned with nature and, consequently, with endangered species. They do not feel they are to blame for the disappearance of these species.

In fact, I have noticed how some native communities have great respect for species in general, especially endangered ones. For example, on the reserve of the Walpole Island First Nation, there are 37 varieties that are now on the list of endangered species. These 37 varieties have grouped together, instinctively, in the location where they are the least endangered, that is, on a native reserve.

Another example I can mention is Akwesasne. These natives have invested money to buy an island to protect the great blue heron. So, we see that natives are concerned with this issue, and it is unfortunate that the bill briefly mentions first nations here and there in the first 19 pages and then not at all at the end.

Consequently, we recognize the federal government's style in this bill; it is often more fiction than fact, full of smoke screens, saying we must take care of aboriginal people because this is important. However, the more time passes, the less we take care of them, and their claims and their importance are totally disregarded in a bill such as this one.

You know that Quebec wants to achieve autonomy. Every time one of our jurisdictions is invaded, we protest. It is the same thing for aboriginal people. They really want native self-government. What this bill says, basically, is: "We will make tests and, from now on, the federal government will have a say on endangered species. We are stepping in. We do not need you, we are taking charge". There have been major clashes with aboriginal people, who strongly disagree with all this.

It seems to me that, once again, the government's fiduciary relationship with aboriginal people is being weakened by the kind of legislation we have before us. Again, in this case as in many others, Quebec and the aboriginal people find themselves on the same side of the issue, in the sense that both have very serious concerns about Bill C-65. Amendments have been put forward but they have been defeated. As a result, this bill, if passed, will enable the federal government to encroach on Quebec's jurisdiction while ignoring the aboriginal communities.

For all these reasons, the Bloc Quebecois cannot support such a bill. We like having certain jurisdictions; we really want to hold on to them and do not want to see the federal government encroach on them. The aboriginal peoples are in the same situation as us. They

do not want the federal government go over their heads and impose a bill that does not provide for any distribution of powers.

That is just about all I had to say. For these reasons, naturally, the Bloc Quebecois will oppose Bill C-65.

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, it is with emotion that I address this bill on endangered species.

As a community, we must be aware of the importance of the ecosystem. We must also realize that human beings are but one element of biodiversity, and that it is vital to ensure a balance between fauna, flora and human beings.

However, statistics show that many species are endangered. Many are already extinct, and I am quite afraid that many more will meet the same fate. This truly concerns me because, if we do not protect the fauna, the flora and all these endangered species, it will have an impact on our lives, 40 years from now, even though we may not always know all these species.

Our planet is currently losing 50 species per day. This is enormous. Given the time it took to reach this point, one might conclude that the world will end in a few thousand years, which is really soon.

So, we cannot overstate, to the international community, the importance of wildlife.

Let me go back to policy, and the bill itself. While it is important to protect endangered species, we must also do so in the appropriate manner. In Quebec, we have our own approach.

Once again, I have the feeling I am saying the same things as always: the federal government is interfering in Quebec's areas of jurisdiction.

I remind the House that the former Minister of the Environment had created all kinds of working and consultative groups to come up with a bill that would make the federal government a leader in that area. The minister introduced her bill in the spring of 1995. It created an outcry, primarily among environmentalists. One of the main objections to the minister's bill had to do with the fact that the legislation would only apply to federal territories.

Environmental groups argued that only four provinces had a law on endangered species and that, consequently, the federal government should legislate for the whole country. I want to point out that Quebec has had an act on endangered species since 1989, and Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick also have legislation on this.

One year later, the current environment minister met with his provincial counterparts, in the hope of reaching an agreement in principle to harmonize protection and conservation policies on wildlife. The meeting took place in Charlottetown, on October 2, 1996. Even though he signed the agreement in principle, Mr. Cliche, Quebec's Minister for the Environment and for Wildlife, issued an independent press release, in which he said: "We cannot remain indifferent to the fact that this agreement opens the door to overlapping between the future federal act and the legislation which has been in effect in Quebec since 1989 and which is working very well".

Canada Endangered Species Protection ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

My colleague, you will have about seven minutes left if you wish to continue after oral question period.

It being almost 2 p.m., we will now proceed to statements by members.

Endangered SpeciesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Liberal Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Canadians are very supportive of endangered species. They know that preventing species from becoming extinct is an honourable purpose. At the same time, Atlantic Canadians want to ensure that endangered species legislation does not have an undue negative impact on our aquaculture and traditional fishing industries.

I believe that the proposed endangered species act has struck the right balance between the two objectives. The bill proves that we can integrate the needs of the economy and the needs of ecology.

The government has shown that we can both protect endangered species and still have secure jobs and healthy, growing economies.

The product of two and a half years of consultations, with many additions and changes, the endangered species act is fair, equitable and balanced. I congratulate the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans who have demonstrated that working together in order to achieve common goals is always a formula for success.

AgricultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is likely my last statement in the 35th Parliament. I will use it to speak to farmers about the government's record regarding key issues affecting them. Reality speaks clearer than words.

To grain farmers: The Crow benefit subsidy was taken away. The reward? Grain moves even slower than before while farmers pay twice as much.

To cattlemen, who ask for nothing from government, and indeed to farmers in the west, in Ontario, in Quebec and in Atlantic Canada: You get Bill C-65, the endangered species legislation. The government legislation could impose huge costs and fines up to $1 million.

To dairymen, many of whom have supported this government: You may be forced to produce below the cost of production for six months due to a bungling of implementation dates on subsidy cuts.

On voting day I urge farmers to look beyond the nice words and to vote based on the policy and the record of each political party. If farmers do this I doubt that much of the farm vote will go to the Liberal government.

Member For BeauceStatements By Members

April 24th, 1997 / 1:55 p.m.

Independent

Gilles Bernier Independent Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, June will mark the end of my activities as the member for Beauce in the Parliament of Canada. During my three terms of office, I have represented with conviction all the causes commended to me by the citizens of Beauce. I have carried out my duties dispassionately, but energetically and with conviction.

I thank the members of my staff and my family, who were very supportive of me. I believe I have been a worthy representative of the inhabitants of Beauce both in the Parliament of Canada and elsewhere. I have tried to be consistent in the positions I have adopted and credible in the actions I have taken. As a member of Parliament, I did my best, trying always to be visible, available and accessible. Representing Beauce for 13 years has been a hectic and eventful experience, but it has also been very rewarding and uplifting.

I therefore leave with wonderful memories of my 13 years in Parliament, of all these colleagues with whom I have worked, the clerk, his team and Hill employees.

To you, Mr. Speaker, I offer my best wishes for success and good health. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of everyone here.

Vive la Beauce, le Québec, et le Canada. May God watch over us all.

Aboriginal PeoplesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, last fall I had the pleasure of visiting Castle Mountain in Alberta, a sacred site of the Blackfoot nation.

The Bloc Quebecois takes exception to the treatment of the Blackfoot in this issue. This mountain is on the point of being declared a historic site. The problem is that it is located within Banff National Park, that the Blackfoot nation opposes this plan and that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has clearly taken a position, by indicating that he was prepared to return this mountain to them as reserve land.

It is a shame that the Minister of Canadian Heritage is still turning a deaf ear to the demands of this first nation. We see this as one more stain on the already tarnished record of the government with respect to native issues.

Duke Of Connaught's Own RegimentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the British Columbia regiment, Duke of Connaught's Own, is headquartered in my riding of Vancouver East. The armoury is over 100 years old, is a municipal and provincial heritage building and houses a spectacular museum. The regiment is very proud of having been the recipient of several Victoria Crosses and having participated in both world wars.

At present the Duke of Connaught's Own Regiment is participating in peacemaking and peacekeeping missions and in training reservists and cadets. Over 100 cadets meet every week and find an alternative to cruising the often dangerous streets of downtown Vancouver.

Last week I had the privilege of participating in the St. Julien's banquet where I met very proud people who contributed a lot to our country. Among them was Col. John Toogood, the honorary colonel of the regiment, who retired after 59 years in the military.

On behalf of all of us, I would like to congratulate the Duke of Connaught's Own Regiment for the work it does, and Col. Toogood for a brilliant career. I salute them.

Winnie The PoohStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1914 a black bear cub was acquired by Dr. Goulbourn from a trapper in White River, Ontario, a community located in the new riding of Algoma-Manitoulin. The bear was named Winnie and eventually made its home in the zoo in London, England where it went on to become the inspiration for the much loved character Winnie the Pooh.

The connection between White River and Winnie the Pooh is not well known. Fortunately, this is about to change. A group of 15 hardworking grade 8 students from St. Basil's School in White River are about to embark on a journey to England to visit the London Zoo in order to raise awareness of the real origins of this world famous bear and to take in the sights as well.

The residents of White River have rallied behind the students and have supported their ambitious fund raising efforts to make this trip possible.

I salute the students and organizers of this school trip for their determination to promote the history of their community. I wish them a very safe, enjoyable and educational voyage.

In closing, I invite all hon. members to visit the beautiful community of White River, Ontario to discover for themselves the place where the Winnie the Pooh story really began.

Visitor VisasStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Portuguese Canadian community living in my riding of Lambton-Middlesex, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration who announced in the House on April 21 that effective May 1, 1997 citizens of Portugal will no longer be required to obtain visitor visas in order to visit Canada. I know there are many Portuguese Canadians in my riding and throughout Canada who will welcome this announcement which will certainly smooth arrangements to have their relatives and friends visit.

Over the years the Portuguese Canadian community has contributed enormously to the social and economic development of my riding of Lambton-Middlesex and to Canada as a whole. I am certain that these exemptions for visitors from Portugal will continue to nurture this relationship to the benefit of citizens of both countries.

My thanks once again to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

AlgeriaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the civil war in Algeria is still claiming innocent victims. Over 60,000 people have already died since this war began five years ago.

Last Tuesday, 95 inhabitants of a small village south of Algiers were killed by an armed group claiming to be Islamic fundamentalists. Unfortunately, this barbaric act was not the last, for we learn today that Tuesday night another 42 people, including 17 women and three babies under a year old, had their throats cut in a village 100 kilometres to the south of Algiers.

Regardless of the cause being defended, there are no words too strong to express our abhorrence of such acts of cruelty.

Lac Barrière ReserveStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, in early 1996 the minister of Indian affairs appointed an interim band council at Lac Barrière reserve and appointed a mediation team led by Justice Paul who recently resigned pending an RCMP investigation.

Doing a 180-degree turnabout, the minister last week reinstated the band leadership that he rejected in 1996. Having done that, he then called Lac Barrière the most dysfunctional reserve in Canada. Meanwhile a forensic audit of Lac Barrière is still trying to account for $20 million in lost funds and there remain allegations of sexual abuse.

The minister has re-endorsed the old leadership despite the problems that developed in the community during its administration. The minister has abandoned the people in this community, which is totally disheartening for those who are trying to end the abuse, unaccountable spending and poverty at the community.

I beg the minister to do the right thing at Lac Barrière rather than what is personally convenient.

Armenian PeopleStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 82nd anniversary of a tragic event: the Armenian genocide.

Members of the Bloc Quebecois strongly believe that this crime against humanity must not sink into oblivion. Year after year, we want to mark this sad anniversary. In fact, the recognition of the Armenian genocide was the subject of a motion brought forward by my colleague from Ahuntsic on April 23, 1996. Unfortunately, Liberal members seemed reluctant to face the facts since they managed to water down the motion by having the notion of genocide taken out of it.

The execution and deportation of nearly two million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 was the first major genocide of this century. This day to remember the victims of the Armenian genocide reminds us of the importance of fighting against the impunity still enjoyed today by some governments.

Armenian GenocideStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Peterson Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to stand with those the world over to remember the Armenian genocide on this its 82nd anniversary.

The world community recognizes that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred in 1915 yet it has not recognized this massacre as a genocide. The United Nations defines genocide as the direct physical destruction of another racial or national group.

We might well ask when will justice based on historical truth prevail.

Succeeding generations of Armenians the world over have not and never shall rest content until justice is served, nor shall any person of goodwill.

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week's Time magazine refers to Canada as the new superhero of global trade and Captain Export on its cover can be none other than Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, the Canadian who conceived and executed the most-