House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was american.


Order in Council AppointmentsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia


Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a number of order in council appointments made recently by the government. I understand that pursuant to provisions of Standing Order 110(1) these are being referred to the appropriate standing committees, a list of which is attached to the document.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia


Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Veterans AffairsRoutine Proceedings

November 6th, 2001 / 10:05 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba


Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Canadians recently witnessed the images of Canadian servicemen and women boarding ships on both coasts, joining the coalition and the fight against terrorism. There were tearful Canadian families saying goodbye. For all Canadian men and women in uniform, no matter where they are serving on this day, let us pray for a safe return home.

The theme of Veterans Week is in the service of peace. While simple to say, and an admirable ambition for nations, it is complex in its application.

In the last century Canada and its allied partners fought two world wars to win back peace for a world in turmoil.

During the first world war, nearly 69,000 Canadians perished on the blood drenched battlefields. There were very young soldiers, some 16, 17 or 18 years old and many in their twenties and thirties.

Twenty years later, we were again called upon to fight because peace was threatened when European and Pacific nations came under the attack of a tyrannical enemy who dreamed of conquest.

Once again, Canadians answered the call and the images came back.

Canadians answered that call and we lost another 47,000 young citizens. Just a few years later in Korea more of our young people died; 536 if my memory serves me correctly.

Over the past half century Canada has become synonymous with peacekeeping. The United Nations has called on us to help preserve peace among nations that have been at war, usually civil war. Our veterans have stood in the line of fire and they have stood their ground.

The number of people who they have saved is too great to estimate. They have earned the gratitude of citizens and nations, gratitude shown in the smile of a child, the tears of a mother and the extended hand of a father, grandparent or elder.

Our citizens answered the call of duty not to defend our own freedom and peace, but to fight for the freedom of others, for the peace of others.

We are extremely proud of the legacy of our veterans. For more than a century, they have shown determination, courage, and honour and they have served with distinction.

Our citizens have answered the call to duty for the peace of others and I am proud of the legacy of our veterans. Courageous and honourable, they have served with distinction. Their legacy will not be forgotten. It continues with the brave young men and women serving today in our armed forces.

Let us all pledge to continue remembering their service and sacrifice. I encourage all Canadians to honour these heroes in the spirit of peace and freedom during Veterans Week, on Remembrance Day and throughout the year.

Lest we forget.

Veterans AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am indeed proud to stand this day on behalf of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and pay tribute to this day and to this week. Might I add that Veterans Week is one which has the full support of my caucus.

I suppose there is some advantage in being a little older. I am one of the few members of our caucus who lived through the events of World War II. I remember exactly where I was on September 10, 1939. I can certainly tell the House about the Sunday morning and the great events of December 7 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I lived through Dieppe, I lived through D-Day, which has been termed as the longest day in our history, June 6, 1944.

I also lived through the time when my friend and I delivered telegrams. These telegrams often read “missing in action”. As a young person, I attended many of the funerals of those people. One of the families who lived just south of the town where I lived had their oldest son shot down after VE day by mistake. These things are very close to me.

Perhaps on September 11 war came closer to Canada than at any time before, with the exception of course of the U-boats that often penetrated the St. Lawrence.

This week is designed to recognize the sacrifices of our veterans and the forces that are active today and to recall the great work of the peacekeepers. Many experience the pain that follows them the rest of their lives.

I hope one thing, because of what happened on September 11. I hope that this country never allows again the media to belittle and actually cast a shadow over the effects of what really happened in World War I and World War II. I lived through that as an educator. I fought my way through that to no avail. That I hope will never happen again.

September 11 changed our attitude. It changed our thinking. It has caused some people to remember. We must now take up the challenge as parliamentarians, as people elected from every corner of the country, to ask our educational institutions to carry it through the curriculum, and by every educational means, to make the day and our very pride in what has been sacrificed for us become a living thing. We have to take our responsibilities seriously.

I would be remiss if I did not ask the hon. minister this. As he knows, we have been promised four or five times since World War II that we would join the rest of the allied forces in a new war museum. The opening has been slated to coincide with VE day in 2005. However many of our veterans have grown weary with that promise and many will not live long enough.

I ask one last thing and it has nothing to do with the area from which I come. In the maritimes we have some 300 people, some widows living alone and some merchant seamen vets, who have never done anything but give everything to their country. I recognize that a deadline was put on the applications.

However, during this week of remembrance I would ask the minister to please make sure that he opens the books and honours those 300 people who for no reason of their own failed to get their applications in.

May we never again in our country break faith with those who have died.

Veterans AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the hon. member who spoke before me was born before the war, I was born during the war, in 1943. I am a little younger than he is, but I fully share his point of view.

It is an honour to join with all members of parliament here today in order to remember our fellow countrymen who were killed in action and to pay tribute to their fellow soldiers who served our two nations in difficult times.

I also want to express all our gratitude to members of the Canadian forces currently serving overseas and to say that our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families during Veterans Week.

We have no greater duty than to honour the sacrifice of those who served to protect our peace and our freedom. One of the best ways to perform this duty is to do it as a community, by talking to each other, by laying wreaths, by shaking a veteran's hand or by reading the inscription on a monument.

We should also talk about it within our families, with our children; tell them about our service people and what they do to protect us; teach them how to pray for the safety of people in uniform; and say a prayer of gratitude for the veterans who protected us in the past.

We have a duty to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives for us, and those who are protecting us this very day.

The theme of Veterans Week is “In the Service of Peace”. In Quebec, and in Canada, we have the pleasure of living in a land of rich resources with a decent standard of living.

As well, this is a land that has known neither war nor occupation. For several decades now, however, our military personnel have answered the call to serve the cause of peace and freedom, in two world wars, the Korean war, the gulf war, and now the war against terrorism, and for more than half a century now as well in a peacekeeping role in some of the world's hot spots.

Most of us, however, have no knowledge of war, except for what we read in history books. Living such a sheltered life, without knowledge of war, is a blessing, one our grandparents and great-grandparents did not enjoy. Yet their experiences of war are engraved in our memories.

Let us recall that, in the past century, more than 116,000 of our fellow citizens, including no doubt members of our own families, lost their lives in combat or died later as a result of their wounds.

We have a duty to perpetuate the memory of our veterans throughout Quebec and Canada, those men and women who served so nobly in peace and in war. Let us make the commitment that they will never be forgotten. That is what we are doing here in the House, in a way, demonstrating that commitment.

Our fellow citizens everywhere will be coming together for Remembrance Day ceremonies and candlelight vigils, in churches, at war memorials and in cemeteries. At cultural and sporting events, they will pause for a moment of silence in memory of our veterans.

Veterans do not ask much of us. They ask that we never forget the sacrifice of those who will never come home, those whose youthful dreams could never be fulfilled, those who were not able to live to enjoy the peace we enjoy, the peace for which they fought so fiercely. How lucky we are.

We will never forget the marvellous legacy they have left to us, so that we may live freely within a democracy.

Veterans AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.


Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today on behalf of my New Democratic colleagues across the country to pay tribute to our Canadian veterans. As fellow parliamentarians we are proud to see and hear the hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs deliver the government statement on behalf of all veterans.

Many historians have repeatedly stated that Canada's sense of being and coming together as a nation came as a result of the heroic efforts of our fallen heroes on the battlefields in Europe in the two world wars between 1914-18 and 1939-45. We must also remember the heroic efforts of the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who fell at battles such as Beaumont Hamel.

In more than 60 countries around the world, over 116,000 young Canadians have died in the effort to spread freedom and democracy around the world so that other countries could live in peace and freedom as we in Canada do today.

Mr. Speaker, I stand before you as a citizen who was born in Holland. My parents and oldest brother were liberated by Canadians. I have to say how proud I am to be able to stand in the Chamber where the decision was made to send liberators over so that my mother, father and oldest brother could be free. As this is the International Year of Volunteers I must say that no greater volunteers have ever come from Canada than those who volunteered to serve as a duty to their country in order to free other nations around the world. I pay special tribute to those honoured veterans and their families.

I encourage all Canadians to take time this week and on November 11 to reflect on and thank our veterans and their families, to get out and visit our local cenotaphs and legions and to say a special prayer for our current military personnel and pray for their safe return from their overseas duties.

May God bless the memory of all fallen heroes and those who are still with us:

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them.

Veterans AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to rise in the Chamber today on behalf of my caucus to pay tribute and give thanks to our war veterans as Veterans Week begins. I will start by thanking the Minister of Veterans Affairs for his comments and indeed for the deep sentiment and strong patriotism that underlie them.

This is not the first time I have had the privilege and honour to rise in the House to pay tribute to our most courageous citizens. Indeed, since coming here in 1993 I have done my best to speak out for our veterans and their needs. That said, this is the first time I have done so in a time of war. It is only in the aftermath of the September attack on the U.S. and our subsequent war on terrorism that we are able to remember the September attacks on Poland and the war against tyranny waged by our best and brightest two generations ago.

When I think of the men and women in uniform who have been committed and dispatched to our current campaign I am always reminded of the day when my brothers came home to tell my mom and dad that they had signed up to fight in the second world war. They signed up in Saint John, New Brunswick to fight the Nazi threat in Europe. While thinking of them I am again brought to terms with those compelling feelings of hope, fear, pride and humility.

We owe so very much to our veterans and I fear that through the passage of time and the relative peace and tranquility in which we were blessed to live, much of their selfless sacrifice has been forgotten. On September 11, however, we were given a vivid and vicious reminder that the defence of freedom is both difficult and never ending. We were reminded in the cruellest way possible that our country needs its heroes and, though there was never any question in our minds, Canada's armed forces have answered the call. The best of this generation have, like their parents and grandparents before them, put their lives in harm's way in the defence of all things truly Canadian.

It is in many ways perhaps ironic that the two month anniversary of the terrorist attack in the U.S. will fall on November 11. As we gather at cenotaphs all across the country, we will remember the losses not only of the last century but those of the last few months. It might even be said that there has never been a more symbolic or significant Remembrance Day. This week as we honour those who have fallen let us remember those who stand on the front lines of freedom a world away. This week as we consider our contribution and commitment to the principles that have served us so well since Confederation, let us remember those who have always stood to protect those principles in times of peril and those who do so as we speak.

Above all else, let us pray under the watchful eye of our protective God that we are victorious in this campaign as our great veteran heroes have been in the wars of the past. We will remember them.

Veterans AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

The Speaker

I would ask that all hon. members rise for a moment of silence for our veterans.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, in both official languages, regarding the associate membership of some committees, and I would like to move concurrence at this time.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 36th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House on Friday, November 2, be concurred in. This had to do with the associate membership of the liaison committee.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table petitions bearing the signatures of some 55,000 Canadians, which I believe would be the largest petition presented in this parliament or for several years. The petition includes signatures from all 10 provinces.

The petitioners pray that parliament pass my private member's bill, Bill C-297, which seeks to formally recognize and institutionalize the practice of two minutes of silence on Remembrance Day. This is similar to and is in fact based on a motion passed at both Westminster and the Ontario provincial parliament. I would like to thank the 55,000 Canadians who have spoken on behalf of this important symbolic gesture through this petition.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions from citizens of the Peterborough area who are concerned about the huge and growing problem of kidney disease.

The petitioners admire the work being done by the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, which is one of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, but they believe that the institute would be even more effective if the word kidney was included in the title. They believe this would involve the public more effectively in the fine work of that institute.

They call upon parliament to encourage the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to explicitly include kidney research as one of the institutes in its system, to be named the institute of kidney and urinary tract diseases.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of the rural route mail couriers of Canada.

The petitioners call upon parliament to repeal subsection 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia


Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Some hon. members


Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

The Speaker

I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 20 minutes.

The House resumed from November 1 consideration of Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

The Speaker

There are eight motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada. The Chair has some doubts regarding the desirability of selecting the motions standing in the name of the hon. member for Windsor--St. Clair, a member of the heritage committee that studied the bill. It appears that these motions could have been proposed in committee.

However, because (a) there are already two groups for debate, (b) the motions are relatively few and (c) the member maintains that he sits on two committees, both of which were seized with bills at the same time, and therefore had difficulty in moving his amendments, the Chair will give the benefit of the doubt to the member on this occasion.

Consequently, Motions Nos. 1 to 4 will be grouped for debate, but they will be voted on as follows:

Motions Nos. 1 to 4 will be voted on separately.

Motions Nos. 5 to 8 will be grouped for debate and voted on as follows: Motions Nos. 5 to 8 will be voted on separately.

I will now put Motions Nos. 1 to 4 to the House.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.


Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON


Motion No. 1

That Bill C-10, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 10 to 15 on page 4 with the following:

“4. (1) The purposes of this Act are:

(a) to create a system of representative marine conservation areas for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people of Canada and the world; and

(b) to protect the ecological integrity of marine conservation areas and reserves.”

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-10, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 30 to 36 on page 4 with the following:

“(4) For the purpose of achieving ecologically sustainable use and protection of marine resources, marine conservation areas shall be divided into zones, which must include preservation zones that fully protect ecological processes, special features and all marine species that occur in these zones and may include natural environment zones that serve as buffer areas to preservation zones and conservation zones that foster and encourage ecologically sustainable use of marine resources.”

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC


Motion No. 3

That Bill C-10, in Clause 4, be amended by adding after line 36 on page 4 the following:

“(5) The Minister shall undertake a mineral exploration review and assessment study prior to establishing any marine conservation area. The results of the Minister's mineral exploration review and assessment study shall be included in the interim management plan for that proposed marine conservation area.”

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.


Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON


Motion No. 4

That Bill C-10, in Clause 9, be amended by replacing lines 24 to 27 on page 8 with the following:

“considerations of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of national marine conservation areas shall be the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity and the precautionary”

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your ruling and for the opportunity to speak to these amendments.

As indicated, it was difficult to move these in the committee as I was involved with the clause by clause debate regarding SARA, the endangered species legislation.

Several of these amendments are straightforward. Others, I believe, go to a fundamental flaw in the bill. The initial one is an amendment to subclause 4(1) which in effect is to create a purpose section to the proposed act. The reasoning behind that is that it does not have a specific section that deals with purpose.

I wish to speak more specifically to the concept of introducing ecological integrity into that clause in the bill

It is interesting that the bill is an extension or a companion legislation to the Parks Canada legislation. It has been interesting to watch the trend in the development over the last number of years as the concept of ecological integrity has been introduced into the Parks Canada legislation regulations and all the decision making that goes on around the development of our parks.

It appears to us that it is a glaring error that it is not incorporated into the legislation which is, as I said, a companion piece of legislation so that we will have a similar theme and concept in this legislation to deal with our marine parks as they are designated and developed.

With regard to the second amendment that is being proposed, which again is in subclause 4(4), in order to develop that ecological integrity and to be sound in terms of ecological sustainability, it is necessary for this amendment. That is what the subclause (4) amendment is designed to do. It must develop the zones and fully protect them in terms of their ecological processes.

I believe subsection 4(4), as it is now, does not fully reflect the intention of the drafters to establish these protected zones. In order to do that we require this enabling part of the legislation to give the government the authority to protect those zones from industrial and other uses. It uses the term right now as requiring only that special features in fragile ecosystems within these protected areas are fully protected. In order to really accomplish that we need this wording.

It was interesting to listen to some of the environmental groups that have looked at this. A number experts who appeared before the heritage committee argued and advocated on behalf of these types of changes and that they be specifically reflected in the legislation. I believe this amendment goes to that purpose.

My next proposed amendment is with regard to clause 9 which also deals with ecological integrity. I will just briefly read the amendment:

considerations of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of national marine conservation areas shall be the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity and the precautionary

It goes on to the principle, et cetera.

As I said earlier, the concept of ecological integrity should be fundamental to the bill. This is almost a consequential type of amendment that is required in order to allow the government in power at the time to carry out that role.

The precautionary principle has been debated. It has been misused at times in terms of what it is meant to accomplish. This wording is the closest to the precautionary principle that was enunciated in chapter 8 of the report from the Royal Society of Canada. It is key to effectively protecting, preserving and restoring the ecological integrity of environmentally sensitive areas. That is true in general. It is true specifically with regard to marine parks which we are dealing with at this point.

My next proposed amendment to the bill is to clause 12. With regard to this amendment and those in clause 13, they are the ones I believe are necessary for the bill to accomplish what the government should be trying to accomplish, although I am not convinced that it has gone anywhere near enough. Because of the way the sections are broken down, the amendment deals with what is prohibited and what will be permitted in marine park zones as they are established.

Right now very general and insufficient wording is used in order to protect these zones once they are established from incursion from other types of activities that will threaten, damage or perhaps destroy parts of these zones if they are allowed to proceed.

What the proposed amendment to clause 12 proposes is, first, that the prohibited activities of dredging or deposit of fill be added to it. There is some general wording around this elsewhere in the bill but it simply does not go far enough. We in the NDP are strongly advocating that we need that type of specific wording to protect these conservation areas.

The second proposal is that no blasting be allowed. This is particularly important from two aspects. The technology used for exploration and development of oil and gas and mining is blasting. Explosive devices are used as part of the process of discovering whether minerals, oil and gas, et cetera are in a certain area. The consequential part of that is that it is extremely damaging to mammals, whales and porpoises in particular, because of the sonar they use to guide themselves. Any type of explosive in those areas will cause wildlife to leave the area or it will severely damage the area.

Three amendments have been proposed to clause 13 dealing with activities again. The first one reads:

No person shall engage in fishing that involves the use of bottom trawling--

Some very interesting research was done this summer on the effect bottom trawling and dragging has had on the coral. Extensive research was done on the amount of coral in the waters on the east coast. If we permit bottom trawling and dragging to continue, it will destroy a good deal of the ecosystem.

The NDP is advocating in this amendment that there be no construction of oil or gas pipelines. As an add on to the blasting that I mentioned in clause 12, there will be no use of acoustic deterrent devices within a marine conservation area.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will speak briefly to the NDP amendments and then at some length to Motion No. 3 which is the Alliance amendment.

Regarding Motion No. 1 which would amend clause 4, we in my party believe the amendment is redundant. The purpose of the bill is already clear. Rewording it would not make the environment any safer.

The legislation as currently written is not balanced and does not deal fairly with the concerns of resource users. If anything, the bill needs to be strengthened on the side of resource users as opposed to further environmental protection, with all due respect to the environment.

Clause 2 serves to ensure that each marine conservation area would be divided into zones which would determine their specific uses. It would ensure that at least one zone allowed and encouraged ecological sustainable use within the MCA while at least one zone fully protected the ecosystem of the conservation area.

Although we would prefer the clause to state that each MCA would have set fishing zones and confirm that fishing be allowed in all MCAs, we can live with the clause as currently written.

The NDP amendment would only serve to reduce the already slim protection afforded to resource users of any marine conservation area. It would effectively eliminate any reference to ensuring that at least one zone is created with the MCA to allow for ecologically sustainable resource use. It would instead create natural environment zones to be used as buffers.

We are not against buffer zones within MCAs. Everyone knows fish do not live in walled communities. They swim freely wherever they want. Having buffer zones between no take and limited use zones might be helpful in the long run. However it is unfortunate that the NDP chose to remove assurances of at least one zone for ecologically sustainable resource use. If that is not included we cannot support the amendment.

Regarding Motion No. 4, the third amendment in the grouping, clause 9 as currently drafted deals with the management plans of an MCA, the review of those plans by the minister, what the primary consideration should be within those plans, how the plans affect the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and how they affect land claims agreements.

It is well explained in the bill that to protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity primary consideration when developing a management plan must be given to the principles of ecosystem management and the precautionary principle.

The primary function of MCAs is to create a representative sampling of the marine environment within Canada. In so doing the primary consideration must be biodiversity since this is the reason the site was chosen in the first place.

As mentioned, Motion No. 1 of the NDP is a redundant amendment since the current clause would ensure that maintaining biodiversity within an MCA is the standard. It would serve only to further strengthen environmental protection in a bill that is all about environmental protection.

In our opinion the bill needs to be strengthened by allowing for more use of resources within MCAs rather than expanding already strong environmental protection. We will therefore not be able to support the NDP amendment.

The Alliance Party's Motion No. 3 is a proposed amendment to clause 4 of Bill C-10. The amendment would add a subclause 4(5). As currently written the bill contains no subclause 4(5). However clause 4 deals entirely with the creation of marine conservation areas and reserves. It sets out management use directives and details specific zones within the MCA.

Our rationale for the change is that Bill C-10 does not currently mention a departmental policy of carrying out a mineral exploration review and assessment study prior to creating an MCA. We would add the following to clause 4:

(5) The Minister shall undertake a mineral exploration review and assessment study prior to establishing any marine conservation area. The results of the Minister's mineral exploration review and assessment study shall be included in the interim management plan for that proposed marine conservation area.

The minister should request a study and its findings should assist him in determining how best to locate a marine conservation area. This is still policy but we would like to see it enshrined in the legislation. We are told by departmental officials that this is done to ensure MCAs are not created within areas of great natural resource potential unless it cannot be helped.

That is our concern. We must determine the potential for development of natural resources prior to establishing a marine conservation area. Once an MCA is in place whatever potential there may be is gone. We would not be able to explore or find out if anything is there. Let us do that first. Let us make it public. Let us put it on the table.

As was pointed out in the committee to departmental officials and the government's parliamentary secretary, policy direction from a department is ever changing. No one from the natural resources sector would take solace in knowing that current policy is to do a MERA study prior to creating an MCA.

Putting in law a requirement that the minister complete a MERA study and include the findings of the study in the interim management plan for an MCA would provide assurance that the results of the MERA would be made public and not hidden away in the department forever. That is the crux of our amendment.

Furthermore, once Bill C-10 is passed by the government, parliament would never see another piece of legislation dealing with the creation of an MCA. The bill would prevent that from happening. The only input parliamentarians and senators would have in the process of creating MCAs or amending their size and scope would be through the minister tabling an interim management plan in the House of Commons and in the other house which is not mentioned here.

Ensuring the MERA study is included in the interim management plan would give elected members of parliament what is hoped would be a fuller picture of the consequences on both sides of the issue of creating an MCA.

We are looking for balance. We support the concept of MCAs. However we must also remember the socioeconomic impacts on small communities in the province of British Columbia, for example, should MCAs limit or in some way prohibit fishing, aquaculture potential or the development of offshore oil and gas.

When given all the facts elected parliamentarians representing the concerns of their ridings make sound grounded decisions. Including this small amendment in a new subclause of clause 4 would in time serve to cement the current policy process of the department of heritage. It would ensure full disclosure for parliamentarians of whether the creation of MCAs may or may not be in the best interests of the coastal areas they would likely affect.

I ask the government to consider the amendment seriously. I hope it will support it.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario


Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, it is important for members of the House to understand what Bill C-10 is about. Bill C-10 would provide the framework for creating a network of national marine conservation areas that would link Canadians to their marine heritage and to each other. As models of ecologically sustainable use, marine conservation areas would show us the way to our future.

It is important to note that marine conservation areas are not parks on the water. As the member for Windsor--St. Clair mentioned, the purpose of national parks is to maintain ecological integrity. The principle of Bill C-10 is not ecological integrity. It is the balancing of protection with sustainable use.

I will talk about the issues that were looked at by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The committee worked hard during its review of Bill C-10. I take this opportunity to thank members of the committee for their efforts.

The committee took a thoughtful approach to the proposed legislation. It provided a forum for a wide range of interests to come forward and comment on the bill. There was a lot of useful input from both the committee and the witnesses who appeared before it.

A number of issues were raised before the standing committee. I will turn to some of these issues which should address the amendments proposed by the hon. member for Windsor--St. Clair and the hon. critic from the Alliance.

Concerns have been expressed both in the House and in committee that provincial jurisdiction would in some way be infringed by Bill C-10. That it is absolutely not the case.

If a province owns all or part of the seabed in an area where Parks Canada proposes to establish a marine conservation area, a federal-provincial agreement would be required to transfer ownership to the federal government. Without such an agreement the proposed marine conservation area could not proceed. For greater certainty this requirement is specified in the bill.

In marine areas where jurisdiction over the seabed is disputed the federal government does not intend to act unilaterally. Let me make that perfectly clear. There would always be consultations with the province with a view to finding a mutually satisfactory resolution.

Members of parliament and witnesses have expressed concern that the national marine conservation areas program is a duplication of existing marine protected area programs and is therefore not needed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Parks Canada's national marine conservation areas are part of a larger commitment by the government to establish a network of protected areas in Canada's oceans. Just as a variety of tools allow for a diverse protected areas network on land such as national parks, provincial parks, national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries, a similar set of tools is necessary to satisfy the wide range of needs and purposes in our complex marine environment.

While the Oceans Act provides the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans a leadership role in co-ordinating the development and implementation of a national system of marine protected areas, responsibility for establishing the system is shared among three federal agencies with mandated responsibilities to establish and create marine protected areas. The agencies are Parks Canada, Environment Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The result is a family of complementary marine protected area programs that contribute to a broader comprehensive system of marine protected areas and conserve and protect Canada's natural and cultural marine resources.

Within this family the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans establishes marine protected areas to protect and conserve critical fish and marine mammal habitats, endangered marine species, unique features and areas of high biological productivity or biodiversity.

The Minister of the Environment establishes national and marine wildlife areas to protect critical seabird habitats. The Minister of Canadian Heritage in turn oversees Parks Canada's program which serves a much broader objective. It is the only one of the three programs that recognizes the role Canada's oceans and great lakes have played in defining the country's economy, culture and identity.

Parks Canada will place a special emphasis on educating Canadians about their marine heritage and communicating its significance in all regions. This is a heritage conservation program ideally suited to the mandate of the Canadian heritage portfolio. Members will appreciate that each program has its own distinctive objectives and is an integral part of an overall co-ordinated federal approach to ocean management.

Several witnesses indicated that to better protect the marine environment there is a need to add more blanket prohibitions to the legislation and to manage for ecological integrity. The amendments proposed by the member for Windsor--St. Clair propose to do so.

The government's position is that more prohibitions included in this legislation would make it more difficult to gain support from local users. It would also make it less likely to adequately represent all Canadian marine regions within a system of national marine conservation areas.

Zoning is a particularly powerful and flexible tool for managing use. It ensures the protection of special features and sensitive ecosystems. It addresses the concerns of those who want to see additional prohibitions in the legislation.

Managing for ecological integrity is an approach which strives to protect ecosystems in a state essentially unaltered by human use. Ecological integrity is a first priority in managing national parks, but national marine conservation areas are not parks on water. They are meant to be models of ecologically sustainable use. The prime considerations in their management are the principles of ecosystem management and the precautionary principles.

Numerous concerns were expressed about the need for full and open public consultations at the local level when marine conservation areas are established. Bill C-10 includes a clear requirement for public consultation in the establishment of any national marine conservation area, with particular emphasis given to affected coastal communities.

The nature of these consultations is set out in Parks Canada policies. The national marine conservation area feasibility studies already launched by Parks Canada in areas such as Lake Superior illustrate this policy already in action. If there is no local support for the creation of a national marine conservation area in a given location then the proposal does not go forward to parliament.

Should an area be established, the proposed legislation would require the creation of a management advisory board to ensure that consultation with local stakeholders would continue on an ongoing basis for all aspects of the management planning.

We are engaged in a great undertaking with the establishment of a Canadian system of national marine conservation areas. Canada is well positioned to make a meaningful contribution to a global effort to establish representative systems of marine protected areas. Parks Canada is a key participant in its effort.

Members will recall that Bill C-10 is framework legislation. It provides the tools needed to create national marine conservation areas and to manage each one in a way that is appropriate to its unique characteristics.

National marine conservation areas are an important part of Canada's family of special places. They will be managed in a way that balances conservation and sustainable use and will be a model for conservation of the marine environment.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-10. This is not a new bill; it follows two bills that were introduced in the House before that last election campaign, Bills C-8 and C-48.

At report stage, we can present amendments. The Bloc Quebecois has supported many proposals made by the government. The Bloc is not opposed to the protection of the environment, but rather to the way the federal government is acting in this matter.

We were against Bills C-8 and C-48 that were before the House before the election campaign, because they infringed provincial jurisdiction. The Bloc Quebecois proposed an amendment that it would have liked the government to accept. This amendment dealt with the protection of territories. The territory is either federal or provincial; as we know, the sea floor belongs to the provinces, according to the Constitution of 1867. The Bloc Quebecois opposes the principle of the transfer of these rights to the federal government.

Clause 10.1 was an irritant. While we were in favour of requiring negotiations with the provinces, it sets out consultations. This bill is weak when it comes to following through on the government's wishes, and history has taught us to be cautious. Members need only think of the millennium scholarships, and the whole issue of young offenders. The Bloc Quebecois will ensure that all of the necessary safeguards are in place to protect provincial jurisdictions and areas of responsibility.

The amendments moved by the New Democratic Party and the Canadian Alliance could be examined individually; they support the zones established to protect ecosystems. This is not the cause of our concern. My colleagues know this; I have already informed them.

There is the whole issue of overlap between different departments. There are three conservation zones: marine conservation areas, which come under canadian heritage; marine protection areas, the responsibility of fisheries and oceans, and marine reserves, which come under the Department of the Environment.

There will therefore be three different structures to complicate the situation. In the case of negotiations with local authorities or the provinces, there will obviously be a certain amount of confusion. The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans was quite ineffectual in protecting marine areas, marine protection zones or marine reserves. There are several zones and there are three departments to manage the task.

Not only is there overlap within the federal level—and it is easy to see how this will create confusion—but there is also overlap in some provinces between Environment Canada and its provincial counterpart, such as in Quebec.

In Quebec, we have our own way of doing things. We proposed a number of amendments. We know that it is Quebec that established a memorandum of understanding with the federal government, which takes into consideration a master plan. This plan includes safeguards to protect the environment and ecosystems. Everything is in place.

This bill was not based on this approach, or if it was, it follows the federal government's centralist vision, the same way the government always does things.

Quebec had an innovative idea that made provision for jurisdictions. With this bill, the federal government is totally upsetting the approach of the Quebec government. It had proposed the master plan, and a law was enacted to protect a specific marine area, namely the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park.

My colleague, the member for Jonquière, who has often raised this matter in the House of Commons, is very familiar with the matter and knows what is involved in the law and the memorandum between the Government of Quebec and the federal government. A marine area was established in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region where I come from.

This agreement provides very clearly that the area will not be transferred. It must not be assumed that Quebec will transfer the marine area, which is public land. The constitution provides that the provinces own crown land. This is therefore annoying. It would have been possible, with an agreement, to not go ahead with the land transfer. We would have liked this bill to incorporate the amendments proposed by the Bloc.

As people know, I am not the first to speak to this matter. My colleague from Portneuf is also a vigorous defender of Quebec's jurisdiction and of shared jurisdictions. He too spoke out against Bill C-8, Bill C-48, and now Bill C-10, saying we would not support it.

There are therefore a number of irritants. We also do not agree with extending the scope of the obligations of Canadian heritage. We know the Minister of Canadian Heritage goes in for propaganda a lot. Indeed, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage was saying earlier that they would provide some education on the protection of marine areas. Education is a provincial matter.

Spending is another very subtle way of meddling in the jurisdictions of the provinces. I say spending, because when the government establishes a program, puts an infrastructure in place, we all know there are other officials working on it and setting up programs. The minister could simply say that she would prepare a fine kit for schools on the federal marine areas.

So there is overlapping. There is no agreement to extend the scope of Heritage Canada's obligations. There is also the complexity and inconsistency of the three departments. There is the centralizing goal. We have examples such as the Young Offenders Act, which is contrary to Quebec's legislation. I will come back to this later, since I will have the opportunity to rise several times today.

Thus, the Bloc Quebecois wanted an amendment that went much further to ensure that each marine area, for example, would be debated and negotiated separately. I know that we are not the only ones in the field who oppose the bill such as it is. I do not know how the other parties will vote, but there are several irritants.

We also know that marine areas often disrupt some ways of doing things in other Canadian regions. In the west, we are told that the local economy must be respected. Local economies must also be allowed to develop. Will this be inconsistent with marine areas? There are amendments that tell us we should really first investigate to determine whether a marine area can be established at a certain place. We are not against these amendments. We believe that some of them make sense. But there is more. We can imagine what the major irritant is and the whole underlying principle of this bill, that is that the government seeks to intrude into provincial jurisdictions.