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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was endangered.

Topics

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I accept that the hon. member agrees that the Government of Canada has a role to play in areas where we want to help find opportunities for employment for Canadian citizens. I am unfamiliar with this particular circumstance but I would be glad to take it under advisement.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

British Columbians are deeply concerned about air pollution, not just from noisy jet skis but massive pollution from the proposed Sumas II power plant.

In view of the very serious threats to health and the environment and the already heavily polluted lower Fraser Valley, will the minister now finally join with local communities and with the government of British Columbia to oppose this plant? Specifically, will he use his powers under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Canada-U.S. air quality agreement to try to stop this disastrous plant from proceeding?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is a bit behind the times. In fact, on May 2 we presented to the Washington state site evaluation committee the analysis of the proposal of the Sumas II power plant. At the time we listed deficiencies. We are waiting, as I understand it at the present time, to get the full response. In that period we have also done a joint study with the province of British Columbian and the GVRD, the greater Vancouver regional district, on air quality.

The hon. member has to remember that the major threat to air quality in the Fraser Valley is in fact automobile emissions. He must also remember that the provincial government in the same proposal along with Sumas permitted two other power plants—

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fundy—Royal.

TaxationOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, give me a fuel tax break. Will the finance minister lower the tax on low sulphur gasoline? The minister knows that when we did this with lead Canada increased its pace to unleaded fuels. Will the minister lower the tax on low sulphur gasoline to improve the environment, human health and give Canadian taxpayers the break at the pumps that they deserve?

TaxationOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in co-operation with the Minister of the Environment of course we have been examining a number of options. The fact is that the Minister of the Environment has been very clear on the importance of low sulphur gas in this country. We will continue to follow those options and take a decision.

CommunicationsOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

Could the Minister of Industry indicate whether the competition bureau will investigate the recent media acquisitions, including the CanWest Global Communications acquisition of Hollinger newspapers and other media assets, which may result in massive concentration of power in the media at the expense of the public interest in the regions and nationwide?

CommunicationsOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, this transaction is reviewable under section 92 of the Competition Act.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Right Hon. Peter Mandelson MP, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Dato Haji Abdul Rahman, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2000 / 3:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That in relation to Bill C-3, an act in respect of criminal justice for young persons and to amend and repeal other acts, not more than ten further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the committee stage of the bill and, at the expiry of the time provided for in this Order, any proceedings before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the said bill shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

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

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Youth Criminal Justice ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

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

Division No. 1386Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed 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, and of the amendment.

Species At Risk ActGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, just to recap what I was saying earlier, we have now entered a period of one of the greatest and largest extinctions of species in history. In fact, the sixth greatest extinction is ongoing right now at a rate that is 1,000 times faster than the normal rate of extinction, so much so that we have about 350 species in Canada, as we speak, that are in danger of becoming extinct. This number is increasing with time.

The primary thrust of extinction is habitat destruction through various sources, primarily agriculture and also industry, the use of pesticides, clear-cutting, forestry practices, human habitation and human activities.

How we actually protect sensitive habitat is the crux of the problem. We have proposed that the government, rather than put forth a weak bill in the form Bill C-33, which I might add is the third attempt to bring in such a bill, needs to start addressing the problem in a pragmatic way. Indeed the private sector would very much like to work with the government, as we would, in trying to develop a plan that would be fair not only to the species at risk but to landowners and other stakeholders.

We can do it by buying in. We need stewardship. Groups can work with the government in order to steward or shepherd sensitive habitats willingly.

If land is to be taken away or use is to be compromised, private interests simply have to be renumerated at free market value for the costs incurred. Those costs need to be given to those who are suffering a loss as a result of their private land use being compromised. We also need to look at existing forestry and agricultural practices and stop them while using other tools to accomplish the same objectives.

Habitat protection is important. Listing is also important. Listing must take place for endangered species on the basis of good science. The government does not do that in this bill. COSEWIC, a group of scientists, are very effective at doing this. It will give the government a list of species in danger of going extinct on the basis of good science. In this bill the government should be obligated to listen to what this group has listed and follow its lead in protecting those species.

We must also enforce the law. Many Canadians would be shocked to learn that we are one of the major conduits in the trafficking of endangered species' products in the entire world. The reason for this is that while we have long borders, we have done an appalling job of protecting those borders, not only for endangered species' products but many others.

The fact that the government has not supported our hardworking men and women on the front lines at our ports means that our country is known as a safe haven for people who are willing to break the law in an effort to traffic in these endangered species' products.

The result internationally has been that many species, from tigers and big cats to birds and indeed plant species, are being felled and are becoming extinct. It is a sad thing when a country like ours, with its wild spaces and which prides itself on being in favour of endangered species' legislation, has been unable to get workable federal legislation and do our part internationally.

I introduced Bill C-475 on April 11, 2000 which dealt with how we can have an effective endangered species bill in a very pragmatic way. My bill would essentially do the following: First, it would obligate the government to protect species that are on COSEWIC's list, i.e. the lists that are there, the species that are endangered are based on science, not politics.

Second, it would obligate the government to work with private stakeholders and the provinces to protect habitat. This is not an option. This has to be an obligation on the part of the government to protect habitat. Failure to do so will ensure that these species will become extinct.

Third, it would obligate the government to work with the provinces to remunerate private landowners at fair market value where a negotiated settlement simply cannot take place, rather than putting all the power in the hands of the minister who will remunerate private landowners on the basis of what he or she wants.

The last thing I want to talk about is a personal experience I had. The best model in the world for protecting species is the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It has saved species such as the white rhino, which went from 24 animals up to several thousand in a matter of 50 to 60 years. The reason it did this is that it used the private sector to husband these species. It convinced them that they would get more money from their land by ecotourism, by hunting excess animals and by other land uses, including harvesting plants in a responsible way that had medicinal uses.

The outcome is that the money drawn from these lands is poured back not only into conservation, but also poured back into the surrounding areas to benefit the people. We need to have the assistance of local people if we are going to protect habitat. The best way to do that is to demonstrate to those people that it will have a direct benefit on their own lives.

If we merely argue on the basis that it is nice to have habitat protected, it will fail, for habitat and animal species, unfortunately, have to pay for themselves if they are going to survive. Where this was done in KwaZulu-Natal, they were able to save many animal and plant species from extinction. They have also managed to benefit the surrounding populous. The outcome has been that animals have been saved from the brink of extinction, an expanded habitat that has been protected, expanded wild spaces and a sustainable use of those areas for other purposes.

The outcome of that is that KwaZulu-Natal is now the international leader in conservation. I can only say to the minister and to the government that our party will be very happy to work with them to this end, but they have to have effective legislation that will protect habitat in the ways that I have mentioned. This is not only a legacy that we have been given, the endangered species in our country, it is also our responsibility to give that to our children and to our grandchildren.