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House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-16.

Topics

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me congratulate the member for Dauphin—Swan River on his speech. I can tell him that the legal issues we are dealing with are fairly difficult and it took a while to get through them. At some point when I saw the charts and was trying to put them all together I identified the lack of appeal process that is available everywhere else ends at the Supreme Court of Canada. We make that available to visitors who come to this country and commit a serious offence because we believe in due process.

The member and I have had some similar experiences coming from different countries. No one argues that if someone commits serious offences coming to this country, or is a war criminal, or has told major lies to get here, we recognize that people who apply for refugee status to get to Canada often have to do it by stealth. We recognized that when we had the policy of none is too many for Jews. People had to misinform to get into this country. We applaud that they got through and wish that more had.

It seems to me the member had it right. The charter of rights, the due process of law and the presumption of innocence should apply to everyone. What scares me in this whole process is that we can slander people by saying they are guilty of this or that and then fail to prove it in court. If someone is being accused, we have a due process for defending the accusation which should apply to everyone, certainly to citizens by choice.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Madam Speaker, citizenship and other issues of the day need to be done right with absolutely no mistakes. If we look back to the bleak moments of Canadian history there have been times when we have done the wrong things. Certainly in terms of my own ethnic background, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923.

I will not say that we should compare this to it. That is not the point. The point is that we cannot make a mistake in terms of how we deal with Canadian immigrants from all over the world who come to this country. We have to do it correctly. People have to be treated on an equal footing. Long gone are the days when politicians can decide who they can discriminate or not discriminate against.

We have set ourselves up as a country to be the model for the world. Citizenship is one of the keys in becoming the model society for the world. If we are to do the talk then we need to do the walk. Doing the walk is making sure that this legislation is correctly done. We will all be happier for it as will the rest of the world. It will not only be people in this country because other people look to us for guidance.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

Madam Speaker, would the hon. member consider referring the matter to the Federal Court of Canada Trial Division for the ascertainment of allegations of fraud, false identity and illegality; notifying the person involved that the order is about to be made by the minister; inviting the person who is the subject of the potential order to make representations to the minister; and then, if the decision has been made, advising the person of his or her right to the judicial review, parts of the due process of law? That is my first question because they are very good safeguards for the due process of law.

The member alluded to his fear, a feeling of fear, and he has been here since the age of six. I imagine the member would say that he has been here more than five years. I would like to call to his attention that subclause 18(5) with respect to the annulment order on citizenship says:

The minister may not make an order under subsection (1) more than five years after the day on which the citizenship was granted, retained, renounced or resumed, as the case may be.

In other words, there is the safeguard of the limitation period so he has nothing to fear.

The last point is that since 1920 the current system has been in effect. Under the provision of that system citizenship is revocable by the governor in council, in effect by cabinet, on a report of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Is the member aware of any one instance in the history of Canada since 1920 where we have somehow treated in so far as revocation of citizenship is concerned naturalized citizens as second class?

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Madam Speaker, if we go back through the history books we will not have a difficult time finding where many different ethnic backgrounds were discriminated against. Just because they were naturalized citizens does not mean they had full citizenship status.

We have the same question today on the whole issue of females when it is said that they are not full participating members of society. On the issue of law, I am not worried about myself. I am only saying that what is good for Canadian born citizens is just as good for adopted Canadians who came here and put in their time, whatever the number of years required to become a full status Canadian. They should be treated the same way. It should be no different.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Even if it is fraud?

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

If it is fraud, as I said earlier, then get rid of them. That is not the problem. The problem is the process. The process should be the same and equal for all of us.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to say a few words.

The member who just spoke asked us if we could give one example of discrimination in Canadian history. I remind him of the situation in which Japanese Canadians found themselves during World War II. Without questioning the member's ethnic origin, I could tell him that the Chinese have also faced discrimination in this country.

I would like to point out that being born in Canada does not mean that one does not have to worry about democracy. For reasons that only they know, some people think they have a monopoly on truth. The Prime Minister is one of them.

As for democracy, we could relate that to Bill C-20. This is an example of what democracy can be in a country where it is never challenged, where it is taken for granted. That is the danger.

A member wants to change the oath of allegiance. One way or the other, it makes absolutely no difference to me. Members will notice that Quebecers are not taking part in this debate, and that is quite significant. I would like those who say these things to give us an answer.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member of the Bloc for raising an excellent point on the whole issue of the Japanese internment.

Another example of internment in this country was from 1914 to 1918 when over 5,000 Ukrainian Canadians were interned and over 80,000 were made to register with the government like common criminals. There are a lot of examples in our history that should teach us the lesson that if we are to pass legislation in this day we should do it the right way.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

Is the House ready for the question?

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

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

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

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

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Citizenship Of Canada ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

The vote is deferred to later this day at the end of Government Orders.

The House resumed from May 15 consideration of the motion that Bill C-33, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

May 29th, 2000 / 5:10 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending NDP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Madam Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to speak today to Bill C-33, the species at risk act. It is always a pleasure to rise in the House, but I must say on this piece of legislation that my NDP colleagues and I are keenly disappointed for reasons which I will detail in a few minutes.

First, it is appropriate that we begin debate on this legislation soon after the list of species at risk of extinction in the country has grown to an all time high. Recently 14 new species were added to the list, which in Canada has been produced each spring for the past 23 years. The number of wild animals, plants, insects and marine organisms at risk of disappearing from Canada now stands at an all time high of 354. This is a stark reminder that our country's natural heritage is under threat. The rate at which species disappear from our planet speaks volumes to the overall health of our environment and ultimately our own human health.

The disappearance of these species serves as a warning sign, much like the canaries that used to be taken down mines shafts. It is a warning that something is happening to habitat. Often that something is directly related to the activities of our own species.

Worldwide we are experiencing the largest extinction epidemic since the time of the dinosaurs. Historically an average of about two to three species a year went extinct due to natural cause, but currently about two to three species go extinct every hour. This is alarming. Almost all of this is due to human causes.

Scientists believe we could lose 25% of the earth's species within the next 30 years if we stay on our present course. We in Canada have serious endangered species problems of our own and things are not getting better.

If I may detail these, 27 species have already gone extinct in Canada in the past 150 years. We now have a total of 354 species known to be at risk, and this list is growing every year. In fact 43 species have recently been added to the list.

I am talking about some of our best loved birds and animals such as the beluga whale, the woodland caribou, the burrowing owl and even the great grizzly bear. All these species could vanish from the wild in coming decades unless we take strong steps to protect them, and not only them but the places in which they live.

Legislation is long overdue. Canadians have been waiting for almost a decade for the federal government to come up with something meaningful to protect species from becoming extinct.

The Mulroney government, I must say, demonstrated political courage when at the earth summit in 1992 it committed Canada to the creation of laws aimed at protecting these vulnerable species. Canada was one of the first countries to sign the accord.

In that respect it is disappointing that after such a long wait Bill C-33 is the best the government can do. Nobody should be more disappointed than the hon. Minister of the Environment who has staked his political reputation on this legislation.

I mentioned that the NDP caucus is disappointed with Bill C-33 because the bill is fundamentally weak. This is in spite of the government's lofty claims of national protection and harsh penalties for those who would do harm to a plant, animal or fish that is in risk of being lost forever.

Canadians want and endangered species need a law that says it will protect species at risk, not a law that says it may protect those species. All the protection this bill claims to provide is left to the discretion of the minister. The only thing that the bill requires the government to do is to consult, although it does not require the minister to listen or to even follow up on those consultations.

Bill C-33 is riddled with political discretion, so much so that if passed without some substantial changes it will be the weakest bill of its kind in North America. I knew there would be a day when Mexico's environmental laws were just as strong as those in this country, I just did not expect it to happen so quickly.

Only a year ago a survey commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare told of Canadians' desire to see strong laws passed by their federal government to protect species at risk of extinction. I will give a few of the numbers involved in that survey: 91% of Canadians believed that the federal government should protect endangered species on all land in Canada; 98% of Canadians surveyed recognized that the protection of habitat was an important element if we were going to protect species at risk; 80% of Canadians preferred to have federal laws that would protect the full habitat of an endangered species; 72% of Canadians believed it was up to the federal government to take a lead in protecting these endangered species; and finally, a full 97% of Canadians surveyed said that it was important that endangered species that migrate across borders were equally protected in all North American countries.

A vast majority also indicated that they were willing to accept at least some economic consequences in order to see endangered species protected. It is important to note that eight in ten Canadians advocated placing restrictions on industries that posed a threat to endangered species. These people were willing to accept some limitation of activities such as forestry, mining and even tourism.

The government clearly has a mandate from Canadians to bring in comprehensive and meaningful legislation to protect these vulnerable species. Instead, the minister has presented us with legislation that is both weak and discretionary.

I want to talk for a few minutes about listing. Today a species is considered endangered when the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, COSEWIC, the scientific body responsible for tracking species, decides to list the species as endangered. This committee has a mandate to make its decisions based on the best, up to date, scientific information available. However, if this bill becomes law, a species will be considered endangered only when the Minister of the Environment says it is.

In typical Liberal style, Bill C-33 formally establishes COSEWIC as the ultimate authority for determining which species are at risk of becoming extinct. At the same time, the bill prevents COSEWIC and its science based findings from having any bearing on which species are actually protected under the law. It determines which species are endangered but it is not allowed, under this legislation, to go ahead and protect those species, to list them.

In spite of the bill's fine words about community knowledge, best available information and its claim to protect our most vulnerable wildlife, everything, as we see, hinges on the opinion of the Minister of the Environment. The bill does not require the minister's opinion to be learned. It does not have to be based on science. It may be based on the list produced by COSEWIC or it may not.

As I mentioned, today there are over 350 species on the endangered list. The important question is: Will they be protected immediately upon the passage of this bill? Disturbingly, the answer is, no they will not.

The day this bill becomes law there will not be any endangered species in Canada, at least not officially. Not a single species at risk today will be protected under this law until the minister gets around to making his list. The existing list of species at risk, the result of a full 23 years of work by COSEWIC, is not grandfathered or automatically included in the legislation. I ask the question, when is an endangered species endangered, and it seems that the answer is, when the minister decides it is.

The single greatest threat to species is the loss of habitat, the places where they live, breed and feed. Habitat loss is responsible for 80% of species decline in Canada. Passing a law that does not protect habitat is really a waste of parliament's time. Again, Bill C-33 fails in this regard.

While other countries, including Mexico, have made the protection of critical habitat mandatory, Canada is proposing to make it discretionary. Once again a species will enjoy protection under the provisions of this law at the pleasure of the environment minister.

If a species is deemed worthy of protection there remains a period that can be as long as 30 months before the habitat is actually protected. Only the residents, the nest or the den is protected in the interim, and we feel that is not good enough.

All of what we are talking about occurs only on federal government lands. Provincial lands and privately owned property have not been factored into this formula.

As we discuss property issues, I want to say that I come from a riding that contains a mix of urban and rural people. I want to address the very real concerns that these people have about a law which if passed would affect them.

I want to make it clear that we in the NDP believe that people should and must be compensated if their lives are affected by a federal government plan to rescue an endangered species. Landowners must be assured that they are not facing personal losses in order to protect habitat. If land is purchased it has to be with the consent of the owner and at fair market prices. Workers whose jobs are lost or whose paycheques shrink also have to be compensated. The same goes for communities. The last thing we want to see is compensation for big companies and nothing for the employees of those companies.

We understand that Canadians want to stop more of our wildlife from disappearing forever. We also understand that the cost of protecting those species must be shared by all of us, not just the people on whose land endangered species happen to live.

As we talk about property rights, I noticed in some of the speeches made by my colleagues in the Canadian Alliance that they seem to be telling farmers and ranchers that this bill threatens their very way of life. Some suggest that farmers might have their land seized by the federal government with no guarantee of compensation. Comments like that play on people's fears, and I want to assure the House that we in the NDP will oppose that kind of tactic, the use of half truths or scaremongering in an attempt to frighten and divide people. We want a reasoned and a factual debate.

The greatest disappointment I have with Bill C-33 is its failure to protect species at risk on lands where the federal government has a clear and an undisputed jurisdiction. This may come as a surprise to some people who have been listening to the news and to comments by the Minister of the Environment. The federal government is not even willing to protect species and habitats on all of its own land.

Organizations, such as the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association and the Mining Association of Canada, think that the federal government should be doing more to protect wildlife on the lands that it owns and oversees.

As well, Bill C-33 provides protection only on federal lands south of the 60th parallel. This means that the act gives federal habitat protection on only a small percentage really of Canada's lands.

The act also fails to offer protection for species or habitat which clearly fall under federal jurisdiction, and I am thinking now specifically of migratory birds, cross-border species and fish. Over 70% of Canada's species at risk migrate or range into the United States. Many of these species, because of Bill C-33, will lose the protection they enjoy in the United States simply by crossing the Canadian border. In fact, the White House and many senators have written to urge Canada to protect the habitat of these so-called shared species.

We might ask ourselves why there is this lack of protection. I would suggest that in large part it is due to the government's departmental turf wars. The department and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, for example, do not want officials from Environment Canada telling them how to protect endangered species in our parks. Officials at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have no intention of letting officials from Environment Canada tell them how to protect fish habitat. The same goes for the Department of National Defence and the lands which it controls. This is a serious internal problem.

In political terms, the bottom line is that the Prime Minister is very determined to have a law on the books before the next election. The only way to make that happen is to come up with legislation that serves as a guide for the federal government whenever and if ever it feels obliged to protect a species from becoming extinct. It serves as a guide but there is no necessity written into the bill.

I want to talk for a few moments about the government's environmental record. I was rather startled to read a book review in the Globe and Mail last weekend by a writer named Andrew Nikiforuk. He was reviewing an important new book written by Maurice Strong, an environmentalist. The book described Canada environmentally as Mississippi north, a truly startling statement which bears only too much truth.

We have had tough talk about air pollution but we have yet to ratify the Kyoto protocol or to meet our emissions targets set years ago. We have talked about cleaning up the Great Lakes, which used to be the world's largest environmental initiative, but today it has fallen off the federal government's agenda. As we know, a key agreement with Ontario to work together to clean up the lakes was allowed to lapse earlier this year and has still not been renegotiated.

While the government talks about the value of community based knowledge and the important contributions Canadians can make on their own, it is leading the charge to muzzle the commission for environmental co-operation. That is the NAFTA watchdog whose job it is to help citizens blow the whistle on their own governments when they fail to enforce environmental protection laws.

I could go on but I will give one more example. Our national parks are in crisis due to years of financial cutbacks and a complete lack of direction from a government that likes to talk about environmental initiatives but too often falls short.

As I have mentioned, I and my colleagues in the NDP are disappointed by this bill. Because there was an earlier bill, Bill C-65, we thought the second run at this bill would be a vast improvement. However, it is turning out not to be the case. The mail and phone calls that have come into our offices indicate that Canadians and environmental organizations are also disappointed.

The bill is weak on the protection of species at risk and their habitats. It invites political consideration, political lobbying and ministerial discretion at every turn. It fails to include compensation provisions for workers and communities who are affected economically by action plans to rescue and recover species at risk. I know this is being looked at but it will only be looked at after this legislation is passed, if indeed it is passed.

I hope it is not passed. I urge my colleagues in the House to defeat the bill, send it back to the minister and tell him to propose a law that will really protect species at risk of becoming extinct, a law that will protect habitat from being destroyed, a law that does not mix science with politics and a law that will ensure a just and fair distribution of the costs involved with saving species at risk.

In final summary, Canada deserves and can certainly afford a better law than this to protect species at risk of becoming extinct.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Madam Speaker, it will be my distinct pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to this bill in a few moments. I want to compliment my NDP colleague for recognizing, in terms of the scientific listing for species at risk legislation, that it should be a matter of science and not of political choice.

I would like the member to comment on why the government would not take the advice and the consensus that was built upon by industry groups, whether it be the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the Canadian Mining Association or the environmental groups.

Why does the member think the government missed that opportunity to build up the consensus when industry was willing to recognize that maintaining our biodiversity was one of science and not of political choice?

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending NDP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The short answer is that it bewilders me. I do not know why the government would choose a political route rather than a scientific route to describe and list species at risk.

As my colleague mentioned, private industry, which one might think would be opposed to listing species in any way which would interfere with business and ultimately profit, is telling the government to go further. I do not believe the pressure came from the private sector. I am only speculating, but I mentioned in the text of my remarks that I believe part of the problem is internal. There is pressure from various government departments that do not want somebody else telling them how to run what they consider to be their business, if I may put it that way. I would suggest that it is not just their business; it concerns all of us.

We really must act on this because time is running out. It is not only these species that are at risk. As these species disappear, we are learning some stark lessons about our own mortality on this planet.

To summarize for my hon. colleague, I do not know the answer to his question. I do know it is fundamentally important that these decisions be science based and not political in nature. The reason for having scientists make scientific decisions is clear. I fear the ability of lobbies to say that species are on land or water used by humans and, therefore, they should not be protected because it would interfere with us. I would not want to open the door to that kind of lobbying and I do not think we need a larger lobbying industry in Ottawa. Our species would suffer from that kind of development.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to have an opportunity to contribute to the debate on Bill C-33. I want to introduce an amendment to the bill a bit later, but at this time I would like to make some introductory remarks.

Perhaps no political party in the House of Commons knows more about species at risk legislation or endangered species legislation than the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Members may remember back in 1993 when the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was reduced to just one breeding pair. We were able to develop our own type of recovery plan to encourage Canadians to invest in the environment stock we had elected in 1993. I am very pleased to say today that the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada still may be extirpated from certain regions temporarily, but we are looking to restore a habitat in other regions of the country. From that particular perspective, we have returned a very fine breeding stock to the House of Commons. A testament to that is the fact that Rosemary Kathleen Herron was born just six weeks ago. The Tory species is indeed growing in leaps and bounds as we head into the next election campaign.

Canada has 351 species that are recognized as endangered or at risk. There is no federal law to protect these species. The government's proposed species at risk act, known as SARA, is long overdue. It is a long overdue promise, but it is very disappointing. This legislation is even weaker and less effective than Bill C-65, the 1996 federal endangered species bill, which died before the 1997 election. This new bill is unacceptably ineffective in several key areas, particularly habitat protection.

The main threat facing endangered species is the destruction of their habitat, the places where species breed, where they feed and where they raise their young.

Habitat loss has been identified as the root cause for over 80% of species decline in Canada. Yet, in Bill C-33, saving species is discretionary, even in areas—and I will bet, Mr. Speaker, that you will find this quite shocking—under federal jurisdiction. The bill does not require protection of endangered species habitat. It merely says that cabinet may protect it. This is one of the key weaknesses of Bill C-33.

Perhaps the most evident of the weaknesses in this legislation is that the federal cabinet will decide which species to list as endangered and not the scientific committee known as COSEWIC, which is the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The Progressive Conservative Party believes that the decision on whether a species is at risk is a matter of science; a scientific fact and not a political choice. Even an all party committee report, including Liberal government members and Reform members, agreed that scientific listing should be the most basic of guiding principles.

The government has argued that if COSEWIC's list is automatically adopted it would open up scientists to intense lobbying. This point we know to be irrelevant, since nothing would preclude them from being lobbied under the proposed bill.

Building successful legislation requires input and support from the affected stakeholders. The Progressive Conservative plan calls for more carrots and less sticks. We believe that it is imperative to encourage, recognize and reward stewardship by offering more carrots, which in the end will result in fewer sticks.

A Progressive Conservative program would be incentive based and not punitive in nature. Merely making criminals out of Canada's best stewards of our lands, the Canadian farmers and our woodlot owners, would not precipitate the positive behaviour that we are looking to create. We believe this can be accomplished by listening to the concerns of stakeholders, working in co-operation with them to build a consensus on effective legislation, and, most importantly, engaging stakeholders in the recovery process.

The Progressive Conservative Party believes that without the support of the provinces, the nation's principal partners, private landowners, resource users and communities, the endangered species legislation will be impossible to institute and will lead to what is commonly known by the people who are following the legislation as a shoot, shovel and shut up mentality.

Members may be aware of a coalition of major environmental and industry groups known as the Species at Risk Working Group, which includes the Canadian Nature Federation, the Mining Association of Canada, the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club of Canada. They have all agreed on the need for strong legislation.

As Hugh Windsor pointed out in The Globe and Mail just a few weeks ago, following the failure of Bill C-65, these stakeholders joined forces two years ago in an attempt to build a common position for an outline of a new endangered species act.

The Progressive Conservative Party has always been a party that builds consensus by working with stakeholders, uniting Canadians and developing sound legislative policy. That is why we chose to support the work of this coalition.

It is also why our position paper, produced last December, two weeks before the government's, has been graded by members of this coalition to be an A, while the government's position paper was graded a mere D. We are working from a position where industry and environmental groups have argued that our position warrants an A, and the basis that formed this legislation is of only D quality.

These stakeholders agreed that, at a minimum, a bill designed to protect species at risk should require habitat protection in all areas of federal jurisdiction and a science based listing of endangered species. These are key components of our Progressive Conservative plan that are absent from the government's Bill C-33.

One has to ask: With a joint industry-environment consensus handed to the government, how is it possible that it ignored this consensus, this work that was done on behalf of the Department of the Environment?

The simple answer, I am sad to say, is that the government is just not listening.

In response to the government's proposal, Pierre Gratton of the Mining Association of Canada said, “We certainly think it could be stronger”. Robert Decarie of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association said, “We think the federal government could have been much stronger, at least within its own clear jurisdictions”.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the solid corporate citizenry of the mining association and the pulp and paper association for their efforts in developing a broad Canadian consensus.

Over 70% of Canada's species at risk migrate or range into the United States. Even the White House and many senators have written to urge Canada to protect the habitat of these shared species. Imagine that. The Americans are now challenging Canada to protect the environment. How things have changed over seven years. Long gone are the days when Canada led environmental battles against the United States.

It was the Progressive Conservative government which took on the Americans and negotiated the country's acid rain protocol in 1987. Now we have the Americans lobbying Canadians to clean up our environmental act. It is important to note, however, that the United States has tough endangered species legislation, but we do not support their all stick and no carrot approach, and neither does the species at risk working group.

Most of the key improvements needed concern internal federal issues which would not be opposed by the provinces or industries. However, a lack of political will to listen continues to hamper any progress on building a better bill.

Provincial endangered species laws make habitat protection mandatory, and thus are stronger in this proposed species at risk act. The Progressive Conservative Party has always believed in co-operative federalism. The Progressive Conservative Party believes that a federal law should act as a safety net. This means that a federal act would only apply in provinces where no equivalent protection exists. This was made clear under the terms of the national accord for the protection of species at risk signed in 1996 by all governments. We maintain our commitment to this plan.

Equivalent legislation would be defined as including, at a minimum, scientific listing and the protection of critical habitat through agreements, laws, permits and effective enforcement using the federal-provincial framework. In addition, other elements of equivalency would be established and negotiated on a species by species basis, utilizing the framework of the national accord for the protection of species at risk.

It is easy to prove that the government is clearly not committed to co-operative federalism. When I went to Calgary for the announcement of the government's position paper in December, I contacted the hon. Gary Mar, who is a very learned environment minister in this country. Government officials never took the courtesy to contact Minister Mar to let him know that the federal government was making the announcement on the position paper at the Calgary zoo. In fact, no members of parliament from Alberta took the courtesy to inform Minister Mar.

If the government wants to build co-operative federalism, if it wants to work with its provincial partners, it should have at least let the provincial ministers know when the position paper was coming out and given them a political heads up.

Overall the bill was a chance for the Liberal government to improve its poor environmental record. It was another chance for the Prime Minister to improve his poor, dismal environmental record. Perhaps the only thing more endangered than the 351 species at risk on the endangered species list is the government's environmental record. Bill C-33 indicates that the environment is still a low priority for the government. In fact, I might add that it is not even on the radar screen.

To illustrate, the Liberal Party has now been in government for seven years and has yet to pass one piece of environmental legislation of its own. Last year it pushed through amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, revisions that were also widely criticized for their key weaknesses. While the original CEPA introduced by the Progressive Conservative Party was a pioneering bill, the revised edition contained modest improvements.

This is a good example to show what a good environmental record is. It was our party when we were in government that negotiated an acid rain protocol with the Americans. It was our party that delivered the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It was our party that led the world community in developing the Montreal protocol on ozone depleting gases. It was our party that actually helped to make our landfill sites even more environmentally friendly with the national packaging protocol. We worked with industry in a co-operative fashion. In contrast, in seven years the Liberal Party has had no bills of its own from the legislative framework.

While our environmental record is solid, this bill fails to even live up to the government's promise in the throne speech. It promised legislation to ensure that species at risk and their critical natural habitat are protected.

What is the good news here? The good news is that the federal government is finally introducing long overdue endangered species legislation. The bad news is that the rest of the bill does not have very many positive things in terms of protecting species at risk, especially in relation to stewardship.

Bill C-33 attempts to recognize the need to encourage and reward stewardship. However the funding provided, about $10 million to $15 million a year, is only a fraction of what is needed to help recover existing species at risk, which is about $50 million a year.

Again the tax and spend Liberals do not know what incentives are. Tax incentives could be brought forth which would actually help stewardship. They would help the stewards of our land, the farmers and woodlot owners, in terms of actually encouraging their positive behaviour through their own goodwill.

The Progressive Conservative Party believes that Bill C-33 should not be another Kyoto where the provinces are forced to implement a plan imposed on them by the federal government. The provinces should be provided with sufficient resources to address recovery plans and ensure effective enforcement. In order for this legislation to work, the federal government must work co-operatively with all stakeholders, the provinces, private landowners, industry and environmentalists alike, to ensure that no single party bears the burden of the recovery on its own when there is a clear shared reward for species recovery.

Finding endangered species on one's land should not mean that all development stops. The key is to manage the lands to ensure that the species can continue to survive.

In addition to those rare cases where protecting endangered species could impose costs on the landowner, the government should provide direct financial assistance.

I was talking with the hon. member for Lethbridge about this issue a while ago. One weakness is that the bill is too vague. It is not clear and it breeds more anxiety about the compensatory regime that is going to be required to reward positive stewardship to protect species at risk.

The Progressive Conservative Party believes that when designing the recovery plan with stakeholders, social and economic considerations must be accounted for and a balance can be achieved that both encourages stewardship and saves endangered species.

In addition, Bill C-33 does not use Canada's existing endangered species list as an initial list for this new act, even though the 1996 bill did. The government is going backward. A better approach would be to start with the existing COSEWIC list and then allow future changes if necessary, as was done in the 1996 bill.

I would like to take this opportunity to move an amendment. This is my rationale. When the bill was tabled in the House of Commons in April, the minister warned that if the committee made changes, the bill would meet a similar fate to the previous one which died on the order paper three years ago. It was reported in the Montreal Gazette on April 12 that the minister said, “If you destabilize this legislation, it is probably gone, just as the previous legislation was gone”. With these threats, the minister is effectively telling the committee not to do its job. The minister is insulting the democratic process of the House.

I urge the government to take the bill back and listen to the stakeholders who have come up with a collaborative and workable compromise. I might add they are very close to reaching a very workable compromise. Listen to the Mining Association of Canada, the Canadian Nature Federation, the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the private woodlot owners, the farming community, the Sierra Club and ranchers alike. Canadians want a bill that works. This bill will not.

The bill can be saved with the necessary changes I outlined. If the committee will not be permitted to make changes, then I urge the government to make them. Therefore, I move:

That all the words after the word “That” be deleted and the following be substituted: “Bill C-33, An Act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada, be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence”.

There is overwhelming public support to have this legislation. In fact, poll upon poll states that Canadians want—