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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liability.

Topics

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance will be voting no to this motion.

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Quebecois will vote against the motion.

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, members of the New Democratic Party vote no to this motion.

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the PC/DR coalition is opposed to this motion.

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

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

Foreign Missions and International Organizations ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to inform the House that, because of the recorded division, government orders will be extended by 15 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-10, an Act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment and subamendment.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

November 20th, 2001 / 3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, normally I would not use the two minutes that I have left, because I had many opportunities to speak this morning. However, given the importance of Bill C-10, to which we are opposed, I will use those two minutes.

Before oral question period, I was saying that there is confusion within the government's own departments, whether it is Fisheries and Oceans, or Environment Canada. Now, in addition to these two, Canadian heritage wants to be responsible for certain areas, this strictly for Canadian unity reasons.

With this much confusion within the federal government itself, it is easy to imagine the confusion there would be at other levels of government. To whom would a provincial government such as Quebec go in connection with the administration of a protected zone? I have no idea.

This confusion gives rise to another problem as well. The problem is a fundamental one. If the departments of a government cannot work together, how can we expect provincial governments to co-operate? It is understandable that the Government of Quebec would refuse to co-operate in this project. The federal government is unable to tell us clearly and precisely why this bill comes from Canadian heritage, when Fisheries and Oceans Canada already has a marine area protection program. The Bloc Quebecois cannot but oppose such an incredible administrative muddle as this.

The way this bill is to be implemented is not clear; it cannot be clear, because of the very nature of its objectives. Canadian heritage is trying to take over jurisdictions that are not its own. It is also trying, with this bill, to take over areas that are not its areas, and thus to meddle once again in provincial jurisdictions and in Quebec's jurisdiction, under cover of the environment. How far will the federal government go in taking over jurisdictions that belong to Quebec and the other provinces?

I reiterate my opposition to Bill C-10 on protected marine areas for several reasons, including the overlap of the responsibilities of departments and especially because of the indirect approach taken in appropriating jurisdictions that belong exclusively to Quebec and the other provinces.

Once again, the federal government has chosen to introduce a bill that ignores action already taken, and successfully. I am talking of course about the agreement regarding the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park.

I fear for the future of people who believe in this government, which takes no account of their interests. I fear for the future of our environment when the objectives of a bill put before us ignore its primary focus, the environment.

In closing, I want people to understand what we are saying here. The Bloc Quebecois is in favour of protecting the environment, but we cannot be naive to the point of agreeing to pass this bill. The government tried to get the House to pass similar legislation in previous parliaments through Bill C-8 and Bill C-48. Now we have Bill C-10, which creates overlap and through which the government is trying to use crown lands.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-10 one more time. I begin my comments by saying that the coalition will be supporting the bill although I do take into account some of the comments made by my colleagues from other parties on the whole notion of trust. There have been occasions in the past when the government has indicated that it would do things in a certain way and it turned out to be exactly the opposite.

When we studied Bill C-10 in committee we had the government act in a number of ways to try to include the concerns raised by witnesses, by me and by my colleagues, in particular my colleague from the Alliance representing Skeena. The government moved a bit on some of those issues.

One of the biggest concerns was the whole area of provincial and federal jurisdiction. If a marine conservation area is to be established in an area under federal jurisdiction, from the federal government's perspective there is no need for it to consult although it said it would consult. That is positive.

In an area that is under provincial jurisdiction the legislation clearly outlines that the provincial and federal governments must be in agreement with the establishment of a marine conservation area.

Generally speaking the concept of a marine conservation area is a positive one. It is a good idea to set aside 29 marine parks in different regions of the country, one representing each region and sub-region, so that we can maintain these areas not only for now but for future use and enjoyment as well.

I believe there is balance in the legislation in that other activities are allowed to occur in a marine conservation area such as fishing and others. Those items are clearly laid out in the bill.

Those who listened to the debate throughout our deliberations on Bill C-10 will know that concerns were raised by the Alliance indicating that the bill went too far and did not allow for enough consultation, flexibility or resource development.

Our friends in the NDP say the bill does not go far enough to protect the environment. Our friends in the Bloc have concerns about the bill mainly because of the provincial jurisdiction aspect. We understand that is their concern. It is a concern for all of us as well. My colleague in the Bloc previously pointed out the whole issue of trust.

In the past the government has infringed on areas of provincial jurisdiction. Even in a bill where the process is clearly laid out the way there is a bit of hesitance to accept the federal government's role in the way that it will actually carry out the process laid out in the bill.

The legislation will be passed because the government is in support of it. It has a majority in the House. Regardless of what opposition members do, if it is a piece of legislation the government wants to go through the House it will go through the House.

If the bill is to be successful and if the creation of these marine conservation areas is to go ahead in a way that takes into account consultation with local regions and with provinces, it is dependent upon the government, and particularly the minister of heritage because the bill is under her area of jurisdiction, that it be implemented in such a way that a marine conservation area will never be established against the will of local communities or provincial jurisdiction. We hope that would be the case.

The government assured us that it was not its intent and drafters of the legislation told us that as well. However, as others have said in this place, we have heard those words before. When we hear them over and over and the actions do not add up to the words, we tend to hesitate in putting trust and faith in a government that has not always lived up to its promises in the past.

We could spend some time talking about promises made by the Liberal government since it took office in 1993. There were things like the GST, helicopters and all kinds of other issues, but I will not digress.

Those kinds of things give us reason to question whether or not the government would implement the bill in the way that it says it would. It is only when the government commits by its actions and lives up to its word that it is able to move ahead and build trust not only with members of parliament from other parties but also with the people we represent in different regions across the country.

It is my hope that this would be the case with Bill C-10. I came to study the bill later than some of my colleagues. It has had several incarnations in the House and we are at the point where the legislation can go ahead.

We support the establishment of marine conservation areas but qualify our support hoping that the government will continue the consultative process with local communities and provinces before establishing one of these areas.

Once established, it is hoped that the government would stick to its word to continue with advisory committees from the local areas to monitor the implementation of the marine conservation areas and to monitor the activities in the areas. If the government does not follow through on that it will give rise to the objections we had and prove those who oppose the bill to be right. It will only be with the test of time that we will see whether or not the government delivers on the commitment of consultation.

There are many concerns about the bill. We in the PC/DR coalition do not believe it to be a perfect bill. We have qualified support for it since we support the notion of marine conservation areas. We believe there has been some balance struck in the bill, but it will only be a supportable notion if the government proceeds in a way that ensures consultation and that the conservation areas are put in locations with the agreement of those communities.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on the amendment to the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment to the amendment.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the amendment to the amendment will please say yea.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Canada National marine conservation areas ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Accordingly the vote is deferred until tomorrow, Wednesday, November 21, at 3 p.m.

Carriage By Air ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Liberalfor the Minister of Transport

moved that Bill S-33, an act to amend the Carriage by Air Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Carriage By Air ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Chicoutimi—Le Fjord Québec

Liberal

André Harvey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill S-33, an act to amend the Carriage by Air Act. This act gives lawful effect to the Warsaw convention and its related instruments known as the Warsaw system.

This system is a global regime of common rules which limits carrier liability for the injury or death of a passenger and the damage, loss or delay of baggage or cargo during international air transportation.

The act was last amended in 1999 when Canada ratified the Guadalajara supplementary convention of 1961 and Montreal protocol no. 4 of 1975, both related instruments of the Warsaw convention.

The amendments proposed in this bill would give effect to the 1999 Montreal convention, which brings together in one convention the most positive elements of the Warsaw convention and its related instruments.

The Montreal convention modernizes the Warsaw system by introducing new and important provisions. One of them will allow international passengers to choose their own local system of law when making claims.

Another new provision will establish in law the two-tier carrier responsibility regime the industry, Air Canada in particular, has had in place since 1997, via a general agreement with the industry.

This two-tier regime operates as follows: at the first tier level, the carrier will assume unlimited liability, irrespective of fault, for claims of death or injury of passengers during international carriage by air, to a limit of approximately$216,000.

The second tier permits carriers to use certain legal defences for claims beyond that limit for death or injury of international passengers.

Note that, unlike the Warsaw convention, this two-tier regime does not set a limit for claims of real damages by international passengers.

Some of the key stakeholders were involved in the drafting of the Montreal convention and strongly support its signature and ratification by Canada.

The international carriers have long recognized that a carrier limit of responsibility for passengers is an obsolete concept, considering the interminable claims proceedings which nowadays might easily exceed these amounts.

Ratification of the Montreal convention by Canada would implement this form of unlimited, rather than limited, liability on the part of the carrier, with respect to international passengers.

The Montreal convention also retains the positive aspects of the Warsaw convention, including the unification of the rules for international carriage by air, which continues to be vital to the harmonious administration of international carriage by air.

Bill S-33 amends the act so that Canada can join other countries, including the United States and our other principal trading partners, in a concerted effort to ratify the 1999 Montreal convention.

For the Montreal convention to take effect internationally, it must first be ratified by a quorum of 30 nations. To date, 70 nations have signed the Montreal convention, including the United States and all of Canada's other principal trading partners. Twelve of the 70 signatories have ratified the Montreal convention since then.

By ratifying this convention, Canada will play a role in helping to set up a new international regime of carrier liability which could potentially reduce litigation and accelerate the settlement of claims.

Until then, however, the Warsaw convention will continue to apply. It will remain in effect for countries which have not yet signed or ratified the Montreal convention and with which Canada has established bilateral ties for international carriage by air.

In conclusion, I urge all my colleagues to support Bill S-33, which would give effect to the Montreal convention in Canada and would, as a result, rework and modernize the rules of the Warsaw convention, provide for unlimited liability and establish new rules of jurisdiction allowing passengers to choose their own local system of law when making claims. I hope that this bill will be passed as quickly as possible.