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.


Canada Endangered Species Protection Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Claude Bachand 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 Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.


Stéphan Tremblay 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 Act
Government 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 Species
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Harold Culbert 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.

Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Leon Benoit 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 Beauce
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Gilles Bernier 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 Peoples
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Claude Bachand 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 Regiment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Anna Terrana 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 Pooh
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Brent St. Denis 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 Visas
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Rose-Marie Ur 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.

Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Christiane Gagnon 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 Reserve
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Duncan 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 People
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Maud Debien 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 Genocide
Statements By Members

April 24th, 1997 / 2:05 p.m.


Jim Peterson 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.

Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Paddy Torsney 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-