Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to this debate for some time. Earlier this morning I listened to the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. I hoped that by the time we reached the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands a little common sense would creep into what members opposite are saying.
What we have seen here is rants from the opposition without any substance. There was indeed a good consultation process. The committee came up with some good recommendations. If the members opposite would just read the response of the minister, they would see that the committee report had done some substantial gain in terms of moving DFO a little further down the path to better represent fishermen.
We have listened in terms of the consultation process. The member said in his speech that he did not expect to get everything the committee recommended. Nor did we. We heard from fishermen in earnest and we made very tough recommendations.
The problem with members opposite is that when the facts on foreign fishing are outlined to them, they do not agree with them even though they are the facts and are articulated in terms of observer reports by DFO, by NAFO and by others. They throw those arguments out. They do not want to hear the facts. They want to believe what they believe and not listen to the facts. That is what we are getting from members opposite.
He talked about the people who signed the report. Let me quote a dissenting report in the east coast fishery report signed by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands who recommended that any program beyond May 1999 would be premature at this time. The member likes to stand in the House and leave the impression that he wants to help those fishermen out when he recommended against a program, likely on the orders of his leader, to help them out. In the recommendations TAGS was extended and fishermen are benefiting from that.
There is a renewal strategy in place. Members opposite should recognize that rather than this rant without substance. We did strengthen management of a renewal strategy program. We put $1.9 million into recruitment and training programs for fisheries officers. We are training fisheries officers now so that there will be better enforcement, so that we protect against illegal activities in the fisheries program, and so that we move ahead and have a fisheries for the future. There is substantial change.
Will the member opposite not agree there has to be change in the fisheries and that hard decisions have to be made? The minister was recently given a conservation award in New York.