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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:05 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

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.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

He gave $6 million to the people who gave him the award.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

The member for Sackville—Eastern Shore is saying that is not correct. It is correct. It was for conserving the fishery.

Would he not agree that the minister is changing the fishery but conserving it so that there will be a fishery of the future? He has a vision on where to go.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the junior minister of fisheries and oceans said they went through a consultative process and made great recommendations of which he was a part. If he is so proud of that report and I am wrong in what I am saying in the House, why will he not stand to vote for it in the House? Why will he not stand up for the people of Prince Edward Island, the people of Atlantic Canada, and vote for them in the House today? He will not because he has been ordered not to do so.

He said that I had written a minority report. Yes, I did, on one recommendation, recommendation 10F on the TAGS program after the government spent $2 billion to pay fishermen to sit at home and wait for the fish to come back. I said that was not working and that we should invest some money in the fishery. I have no problem spending money to invest in the fishery to ensure that it comes back. Not everybody agreed with it, but I felt strongly enough that I had to put it on the record with one recommendation, that we would not spend $2 billion of taxpayers' money to pay fishermen to sit at home and wait for the fish to come back.

Let us fix the problem. For five years the government's solution was that the fish were gone. It threw in a couple of billion dollars and hoped the problem would fix itself. The Liberals do not realize that they are the problem. Their own department is the problem. Their minister is the problem. They made no substantive changes to the fishery. The same people who destroyed the Atlantic fishery over the last 20 years are the people who are in charge today. They are the people who are in the process of destroying the west coast fishery.

If the member is so proud of this report, he should stand today to vote for concurrence in the report. He should stand up for the people of Prince Edward Island and all other Atlantic Canadians and show them that you are sincere in your comments.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I remind hon. members to address challenges to each other through the Chair.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the junior minister of fisheries and oceans was quoted as saying we now have much better observer reports from the foreigners. Has the junior minister ever seen a foreign observer report? I would put it that he never has. How do we know they are worth anything?

He also said that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans received a conservation award from the Atlantic Salmon Federation. The fact is that the department which he runs gave the federation $6 million, and a few months later the minister got an award from the same people he gave the money to. He literally bought that award. It has nothing to do with conservation.

The government is concerned about recommendation No. 9 on foreign observer reports. Have we ever seen a foreign observer report? We have not. Has the government ever seen a foreign observer report?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member from Nova Scotia for reminding me to talk about the observer reports to which the junior minister of fisheries and oceans has referred. He said saying that we had all these wonderful observer reports with which to write this report.

The fact is that we were denied access to them. We put a motion to the committee asking for observer reports. We made numerous requests through the chair who was fired for demanding the observer reports. The government offered the reports to us in camera. It said it would give the reports to us in secret but we could not let the Canadian people see them because there was a lot of stuff it did not want Canadians to see.

We were not given the observer reports. The Government of Canada kept them secret. Why? It was because they are ineffective. We later learned that the observers on foreign vessels were coming from the nations where the vessels came from. They report when they get back to the port of their flag country. They are meaningless and the government would not release those reports.

The ones we obtained where we actually had some input contained numerous violations by foreign states in Canadian waters of which the Government of Canada was aware. What did we learn? We learned there was no way the government would prosecute them or pursue them.

We never saw the observer reports to which the junior minister of fisheries and oceans refers. That is all on the record.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

You were offered them and you refused them.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

We were offered them in a secret meeting. The member is yelling at me from the other side of the House, saying that we were offered the reports. Yes, we were, in camera, which means in secret. We were not supposed to let anybody else know what was in them because the government was embarrassed and did not want them in the public domain. That is appalling.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have to say I was stunned to hear the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore bring this issue up again today.

First, the House just dealt with it last week and voted on it last week.

Second, the NDP had a full opposition day last week. If this is such an important issue to the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore and to his colleagues in the New Democratic Party, they would have made this the subject of a full day of debate in the House of Commons.

We are known as Canadians for being somewhat self-effacing, but I am not sure why the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore has to be so self-effacing as to suggest that this country should not be proud that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans was awarded the conservation award of the Atlantic Salmon Federation and has to somehow suggest that the minister did not deserve that award.

As Canadians of course we do not think any of us deserve any recognition. Personally I and my colleagues are proud of the minister for having won that recognition.

Members may interpret this somewhat as picking on the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore today. But I was astonished as well to hear this member suggest that the only people in the House with courage and daring are those who happen to have certain male appendages. I do not, but I consider myself pretty daring and pretty gutsy.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have the greatest respect for the member, but the fact is I did withdraw that statement.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recognize completely that the member withdrew his statement.

Given the circumstances, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Actually the Liberals are quite incorrect. This is an important issue and we do have members here who are concerned about the east coast fishery. I would like to ask—

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

That is really a question of debate. We have a motion on the floor so we have to deal with that before we deal with any subsequent questions.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. government deputy whip stood when you resumed debate, gave a wonderful speech and talked about the member from Nova Scotia. I believe we should get 10 minutes of questions and comments following that.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

That is not a point of order.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 246Routine Proceedings

October 27th, 1998 / 12:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I declare the motion carried.