Madam Speaker, it is a bit amusing to in the House to speak on a bill right after a tribute to the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky. I hope the Canadiens will forgive me. I will try not to skate around the issue but rather will attempt to explain the bill we are examining.
Before addressing Bill C-27, whose purpose, I would remind members, is to implement the United Nations Fisheries Agreement, it is necessary first of all to see what that agreement is all about. I will then look at how Canada intends to Canadianize certain parts of it.
I have a copy in front of me of the United Nations Agreement, and I think it is important to review it. I would like to begin by reading its preamble. This is an agreement that will go down in history and will govern all countries on the earth, if more than 30 countries ratify it in the coming weeks and months.
In its preamble, the agreement states:
The States Parties to this Agreement,
Recalling the relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982,
Determined to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of straddling fish stocks—
This refers to the stocks which straddle or migrate across exclusive economic zones.
—and highly migratory fish stocks,
Resolved to improve cooperation between States to that end,
Calling for more effective enforcement by flag States, port States and coastal States of the conservation and management measures adopted for such stocks,
I am still reading the preamble:
Seeking to address in particular the problems identified in chapter 17, programme area C, of Agenda 21 adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, namely, that the management of high seas fisheries is inadequate in many areas and that some resources are overutilized; noting that there are problems of unregulated fishing, over-capitalization, excessive fleet size, vessel reflagging to escape controls, insufficiently selective gear, unreliable databases and lack of sufficient cooperation between States.
Committing themselves to responsible fisheries,
Conscious of the need to avoid adverse impacts on the marine environment, preserve biodiversity, maintain the integrity of marine ecosystems and minimize the risk of long-term or irreversible effects of fishing operations,
Recognizing the need for specific assistance, including financial, scientific and technological assistance, in order that developing States can participate effectively in the conservation, management and sustainable use of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks.
Convinced that an agreement for the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention would best serve these purposes and contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security,
Affirming that matters not regulated by the Convention or by this Agreement continue to be governed by the rules and principles of general international law, have agreed as follows.
And so forth.
Why do I take the time to read the foreword? This document sets out and puts on the table the general philosophy of the countries signing it. I would like to make a few comments at this time.