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House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Canadian Environmental Assessment ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I actually recall questions in the House that were specifically on the issue the hon. member asks about.

If we were listening to the answers from the government we would say yes, there was a commitment that it would clean up these areas. My understanding is that very few of those areas have been cleaned up.

To go back to the situation in first nations communities, there were diesel powered generators in a lot of the communities for the nursing stations and schools. Over the years there were huge diesel spills in those areas that affected the health of the first nations people. In some cases schools or nursing stations were moved. In other cases they were not. In most cases areas affected by diesel spills were not cleaned up. The hazards are still within the first nations communities. There are affected communities in my riding. They are attempting to continue their fight with the federal government to get it to pay for the cleanups.

Certainly the federal government has not been strong in following through on its comments about cleaning up its environmental messes.

Canadian Environmental Assessment ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, as opposed to the proverbial comment we hear in the House that it is a pleasure to participate in such a debate on Bill C-19, I might actually say that every time I have had an opportunity to speak on issues pertaining to the environment I usually preface my comments by saying that it is with great sadness that I have a chance to participate in the debate.

What I am referring to is Bill C-19, which is the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. It was first brought forth as a very progressive piece of legislation by the Conservatives in June 1992 when the Progressive Conservative Party was in government. Those governments have been described by individuals such as Elizabeth May of the Sierra Club, who is outside fighting the environmental degradation at the Sydney tar ponds, in this way: the Conservative governments were the most environmentally progressive governments in the industrialized world.

The Conservatives actually developed the omnibus bill on the control and use of toxins in the environment, known as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It was a Progressive Conservative government that led the international community in 1987 with respect to developing a protocol known as the Montreal protocol. That challenged the industrialized world to eliminate or drastically reduce ozone depleting gases.

During that same era, Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will recall that the prime minister and the minister of environment of the day, Jean J. Charest, led a delegation in which Canada was a world leader by bringing the world together with respect to climate change and biodiversity. In contrast we now have a government that has been in office for nearly eight years and has yet to pass a single piece of environmental legislation of note. That is the record.

These are not just my comments. I can even refer to Stewart Elgie, who is the executive director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund. These are his words, not just mine.

What we are looking at is a mandatory review, which was put in place by the Progressive Conservative government in 1992 in the first piece of legislation and which shows the understanding that what we do today with respect to environmental management will be drastically different in the very near future. That is why it is incumbent upon the government to review legislation of this sort.

In addition to this initiative, we should be doing what the minister of the day, Lucien Bouchard, said in 1990. He found three legislative gaps with respect to the environment. First, Canada essentially has a pesticide act that is over 30 years old. Second, we really do not have a framework to establish legislation to ensure safe drinking water in Canada. Last, at the time he was advocating that we have legislation in place to protect species at risk.

Here we are a decade later, after eight years of Liberal government, still waiting for those three initiatives to be brought forth to the Canadian public. However we do have some housekeeping, in that the minister has tabled in a timely manner the mandatory review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. According to the minister's press release, the purpose of the act is essentially tenfold. I will list the ten points very briefly.

One purpose is to focus the act on projects with a greater likelihood of adverse environmental effects as opposed to having only broad screenings of issues that have less or a minor impact and could be managed more effectively and exclusively by the provinces. The Progressive Conservative Party has a proud tradition of being respectful of jurisdictional issues with respect to the provincial governments and the federal government. That is why we support the idea of harmonization, not to the lowest common denominator but to ensure that this is done in the most cost effective, time effective and environmentally effective manner possible.

On this list with respect to this new review the minister advocates: improving co-ordination among federal departments and agencies when several are involved in the same assessment, which I think is a good initiative; reaffirming and enhancing co-operation with other governments in conducting environmental assessments where jurisdictional overlaps and duplications occur, which the Progressive Conservative Party indeed embraces; and increasing certainty in the process in order to reduce the potential for project delays and cost increases. Industry will play by the rules. We can develop faster and that will help our economy grow, but industry and the provincial governments that want to take initiatives of this sort have to know what the rules are. The certainty in reducing overlap and duplication is a key component.

In the bill the minister advocates strengthening the role of follow-ups to ensure that sound environmental protection measures are in place for the project as well as improving consideration of what the cumulative effects of the project might be. One project on its own may not have an impact that would significantly degrade the environment in any way, shape or form, but the cumulative effect may come into play.

The eighth point the minister advocates is that of providing convenient and timely access to reports and other information about assessments. As well, he advocates strengthening the incorporation of aboriginal perspectives in the federal process, an initiative I strongly applaud, along with expanding public participation.

The House may be aware that within the last year a task force led by the federal government was struck to study issues with respect to environmental assessment. A myriad of items was tabled in that report. The sad thing is that in going through the legislation at first blush it seems that only a few were acted on in this revision of the act. When this gets to committee the Progressive Conservative Party wants to ensure that we have a full vetting of the committee's report. It is a report that I have not gone through in any detail, but through our research we have discovered that only a couple of the items were touched upon.

Here we are dealing with a mandatory review of a piece of legislation which the government is compelled to actually perform. We will do our process, but what Canadians want is environmental leadership across the board. As the former minister of the environment, Lucien Bouchard, said in 1990, we need new pesticide legislation. It is 30 years old. The Minister of Health said he would table it quite soon. I remember Claire Franklin, the executive director of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, saying that framework legislation or draft legislation has essentially been in place for three years. Yet the government has not acted and does not table the legislation.

We are still waiting for a species at risk bill that will work. The Progressive Conservative Party will not support that piece of legislation for four reasons, primarily because it does not include migratory birds and it still contains the belief that politicians rather than scientists are a better fit to determine whether or not a species is at risk. It is also extremely intrusive in one regard, and very hypocritical, I might add. The species at risk legislation says that it has the capacity to force a private landowner to engage in recovery plans and the capacity to force a province to participate, but it is permissive with respect to habitat protection within its own backyard, on federal land. We will have a chance to address that bill later on.

We are a long way from being able to give a definitive answer about whether we will support this legislation in its compulsory review. We will let the committee do its job, but ultimately the Government of Canada should take up the myriad of recommendations made by the task force that studied this issue. We will do our work in committee.

Canadian Executive Services OrganizationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the outstanding efforts of two of my constituents who have recently returned from working overseas for the Canadian Executive Services Organization.

Mr. Don Stockton went to Bangkok to advise a manufacturer of flour and starch on techniques to improve production. Don developed a repairs and maintenance system and advised the company on warehousing and small packaging programs.

Another Guelphite, Mr. John Van Esch, went to Guatemala City to suggest quality and productivity improvements for a company that produces dairy products. Among other things, John advised the company on a new formula for yogourt production and added a new flavour. The company reports that the new coffee yogourt is a real hit.

Mr. Stockton and Mr. Van Esch are just two examples of the good people we have in Guelph—Wellington doing fine things both in the community and across the world.

Census DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, have you mailed in your census form yet? I certainly hope so, because today is Census Day and according to the government everyone should be mailing in their forms today.

The problem as I see it is that there are large numbers of people who are very uncomfortable with the current census form and some of the questions that are asked.

I find it difficult to explain to my constituents why the government needs to know the answers to questions such as what religion they practise. It seems to me that we split church and state quite a few years ago. Other questions that have raised eyebrows include who pays the rent, how many bedrooms are in a person's home and are any repairs needed.

The government insists that our census information is absolutely private and will not be accessed by anyone other than census officials, except maybe for HRDC officials who in the past used census information to put together a list on every Canadian in the country.

By all means, Canadians should mail in their census. They just should not be too surprised if the tax collector happens to know whether a husband and wife sleep in the same bed.

Insectarium De MontréalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Insectarium de Montréal, which opened in 1990, is the largest museum in North America that is wholly devoted to insects.

It houses a prestigious collection of 160,000 specimens from every part of the world. In summer, there is an outdoor flight cage containing the most beautiful of Quebec's butterflies.

Every year, the Insectarium receives 400,000 visitors. Its educational programs add to the knowledge of thousands of young people about insects.

The quality of its live insect colonies and its innovative approach to museology have made the Insectarium de Montréal a model for numerous other projects throughout the world, including China, Taiwan, the United States, France and Brazil.

Until September 2, thanks to a contribution from the Millennium Bureau of Canada, the Insectarium will be presenting “Mad about Research”, an interactive exhibit on the work of entomological researchers.

Take my word for it, it is an enchanting experience to discover the world of insects under the competent and professional guidance of the Insectarium staff.

Bravo, and thank you, to all those who are involved day in and day out in this endeavour.

Breast CancerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Cure Foundation is today holding its annual national denim day to raise money for breast cancer research.

This one day event asks employees across Canada to come to work dressed in jeans and to donate $5 to the fight against breast cancer.

The Cure Foundation works in tandem with health professionals, other foundations and Canadian teaching hospitals to improve breast cancer outcomes. The most frequently diagnosed cancer in 2001 will continue to be breast cancer for women. Added to that, there is a little known but lethal statistic that shows 3% of all breast cancers occur in males. By the time it is diagnosed the cancer is well on its way to killing the patient.

Health Canada is committed to improving these results and actively participates through funding for research. Funding is aimed at prevention, early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, as well as treatment and care for those living with the disease.

Please join me in extending my best wishes for a successful national denim day.

Riding Of Québec EastStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Guy Carignan Liberal Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, in my maiden speech in this House I referred to the historical nature of my riding and to the fact that it had been represented by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Ernest Lapointe, Louis St-Laurent and Gérard Duquet.

I also pledged to do my best to follow in the footsteps of these great builders in representing my constituents in a worthy manner.

Today I would like to inform the House that a hundred or so of those same Quebecers, these same Canadian men and women, have travelled to their national capital to salute their Prime Minister and to show support for their government and their MP.

In so doing, they are demonstrating their profound attachment to their country and to their fellow citizens, and to the Canadian values of tolerance, personal freedom, equality, justice and the institutions that symbolize our democracy.

I wish all those who have come here from the beautiful riding of Québec East a wonderful day in the national capital.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

May 15th, 2001 / 2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government's gun control bill will cost $1 billion before it is fully implemented. It may cost an additional $1 billion to operate it over the next 10 years. This is $2 billion that should be spent on the real priorities of Canadians, such as health care and our farmers who are facing disaster because of foreign subsidies, drought and flood in my own province.

Canada's privacy commissioner, George Radwinski, has confirmed that information collected under this law has led to investigations based on unsubstantiated hearsay and incorrect information.

Sixty per cent of gun owners in some provinces are ignoring the law and have not applied for possession licences.

It is obvious that the Liberal's wrongheaded attempts at gun control are enormously expensive, do not help the police reduce crime and are not accepted by Canadians.

My constituents did not want Liberal gun control when it was forced through the House. They used their vote to show they did not want it in 1997 and in 2000, and they still do not want it today. The Liberals should finally start listening to Canadians.

Qikitani Inuit AssociationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, this week the board of directors of the Qikitani Inuit Association of Baffin Island are in Ottawa for board training and meetings.

I am pleased they could be here.

The Qikitani Inuit Association is one of three regional Inuit organizations in Nunavut. As its mission statement says, the role of QIA is “to safeguard, administer and advance the rights and benefits of the Inuit of the Baffin region; to promote the Inuit language and traditions; Inuit environmental values, as well as Inuit self-sufficiency, economic, social and cultural well-being through succeeding generations; all in an open and accountable forum”.

I invite my colleagues to meet with the board members at the reception I am co-hosting with the president at 5 p.m. in the Wellington Building and enjoy Inuit hospitality.

National Marine DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, representatives of the main components of the shipping industry—pilots, carriers, shippers, port managers and shipbuilders—are here in Ottawa to draw attention to the second National Marine Day. This event is intended to raise the profile of the important economic and social roles of the marine sector.

Last year, the marine industry carried nearly 400 million tonnes of goods, representing $80 billion, and 50 million people.

With the federal government opting out, the marine community was able to count on the Bloc Quebecois to bring the government to its senses in the business of ice breaking, and it knows the Bloc will rise up again against unreasonable fees for aids to navigation.

I encourage all my parliamentary colleagues to listen carefully to the various shipping stakeholders here today so we may one day have a real integrated shipping policy.

National Marine DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to rise in celebration of National Marine Day. Today in Ottawa, representatives of marine communities from across Canada are meeting with government officials to discuss ways to ensure a healthy, safe, efficient and competitive shipping industry.

Through technological advancement and a highly skilled workforce, the marine community continues to be an effective and efficient component of Canada's transportation infrastructure. As the most environmentally responsible mode of transportation, the marine industry in Canada is well positioned to support the nation's emissions reduction goals in the coming years.

In my own riding of Hamilton West, the livelihood of thousands of women and men depends upon the competitive future of marine shipping in Canada. The same is true in hundreds of communities across our great country.

Therefore, I ask my hon. colleagues to join me in welcoming members of our country's marine community and wish them well during National Marine Day.

CaveatStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, after a decade CAVEAT has closed its doors. CAVEAT is a victims' rights group well known in this country for pioneering many of the victims' rights that have come to us.

CAVEAT was begun by Priscilla de Villiers who lost a child to a criminal. Through just common, plain folk that were involved in CAVEAT a lot of good has been done in this country. They worked very closely with many people across the country on victims' rights for all Canadians.

I would also like to thank a member of the provincial CAVEAT group, Chris Simmons, who became their president. Chris and Sue lost their young daughter as a result of criminal action. They have helped so many other victims across the country.

I would also like to thank those who carry on the torch in many victims' issues, like Steve Sullivan with the victims group here in Ottawa. Victims' rights have yet more to come.

Marine IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today representatives of Canada's marine industry are here to meet government officials and members of parliament to discuss a partnership that will guarantee a healthy, effective and competitive industry.

After carrying over 400 million tonnes of cargo last year, evaluated at over $80 billion, the Canadian marine industry played an integral role in the economic health of our country. Furthermore, as the most environmentally responsible mode of transport, the marine industry in Canada is well placed to support the gas emission reduction objectives the country has set itself for the coming year.

Over half of international cargo trade is moved by water. The marine communities across the country are eager to work with all governments so as to be ready to meet the environmental and economic challenges of our great nation.

I invite my colleagues and all Canadians to welcome the members of the marine community to Ottawa. I wish them as well great success on National Marine Day.

MarijuanaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the decision of the U.S. supreme court yesterday to criminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and strike down state laws, which permitted the same, reveals the tragic dogmatism at the heart of the official American attitude toward drugs. They are committed to a prohibitionist, universally criminalizing strategy that is ineffective and particularly unfair to Americans in need of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Canada fortunately seems tentatively headed in a more intelligent and compassionate direction. Not only have our courts ruled differently on medical marijuana and our government responded accordingly but there is a growing chorus of established opinion for a different approach to the possession of marijuana for personal use.

The Canadian Medical Association has joined the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs in asking that such an approach be seriously considered. These voices should be seriously listened to. Canadians and their government should continue to seek a superior alternative to the failed approach entrenched in the United States of America.

International Day Of FamiliesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, this being the Semaine québécoise de la famille, as well as the International Day of Families, I wish to say how important the family unit is to people's social and emotional development.

The Government of Quebec has understood this and that is why it looks after its children. Through family allowances, $5 day care and a progressive tax system, Quebec takes families' needs into account and thus helps young families to balance work and family responsibilities. In addition, Quebec will soon be introducing a parental leave plan which will refuse to treat a pregnant woman as someone who is losing her job, if the federal government stops putting obstacles in our way.

Despite the fact that the federal government saves over $70 million annually through $5 day care and refuses to recognize the Quebec consensus on parental leave, Quebec stands as a model when it comes to family policy.

International Day Of FamiliesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to remind the House of Commons and all Canadians that the International Day of Families, which is observed on May 15, is a very special day for families the world over.

This year is also the International Year of Volunteers and I invite members to reflect upon the important contribution families make to the voluntary sector. Families are the cornerstone of society. It is through families that we learn to be caring, responsible adults.

Offering families the support of the community is one of the best investments we could make in the long-term health and well-being of Canadian society.

Police WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, as police forces all across Canada celebrate Police Week, I rise in honour of the brave men and women from New Glasgow to New Westminster who work tirelessly to protect the public and maintain law and order.

Commencing in 1970, Police Week brings public recognition to the valuable work of our local provincial and national police forces and it highlights the continued need to give police the resources necessary to fight crime and improve public safety.

Police have lobbied the Liberal government for legislative action. They want meaningful, specific legislation creating stiffer penalties for serious offences, efforts to streamline procedure, technical upgrades and a national sex offender registry. Routinely we see Liberal half measures and complicated, cumbersome legislation which often drags on for years.

As the solicitor general will attend tomorrow's Police Week event, Rendez-vous 2001, here on Parliament Hill, I encourage him to listen to police in attendance and respond to their concerns with meaningful legislation.

We want to thank the police everywhere very much.

Missile Defence SystemStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's silence on the Bush administration's missile defence system is being seen as an agreement bordering on complicity.

We need to speak out clearly against this flawed proposal which not only fails to accomplish its objective of nuclear deterrence but in fact increases the likelihood of nuclear proliferation.

What deterred before still deters today. The anti-ballistic missile treaty is necessary to the international stalemate. The abandonment of this treaty would take the lid off nuclear non-proliferation and essentially kickstart nuclear rearmament as states, such as China, Russia and India, perceive themselves at risk.

This government must be firm in denying support for such a destabilizing doctrine and, in so doing, be consistent with our foreign and defence policies.

There are times when saying no to a neighbour and ally is difficult. It does not absolve us of our responsibility to do so. There should be no silence on the front or back benches regarding this tragically flawed proposal.

National Mining WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of National Mining Week which is celebrated annually to increase public awareness of the importance of mining.

How often do Canadians think about mining, minerals and metals and the crucial role they play? About 400,000 Canadians think about it every day because their livelihood depends on mining.

Minerals and metal exports represent 13% of total Canadian exports, 70% of the total volume handled at Canadian ports, and more than half of all total rail freight revenue. Canadian mining is a global leader. It is a productive and innovative sector closely linked to the knowledge based technology driven global economy.

I encourage all Canadians to reflect on our mining heritage and to recognize mining's contribution to our prosperity and to our international reputation as a centre of mining excellence.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, one economist after another is saying that the government's budget numbers simply do not add up. For instance, we have the former assistant deputy minister to the finance minister on record as saying that the government just never added those numbers together, so we are in the whole by $1.5 billion. This confirms what others are saying.

Now that the evidence is mounting, will the finance minister admit that we are headed to a planning deficit by at least the year 2004?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are in the fifth year of a surplus, something that has never been seen in Canada in many years. We remember very well that for months and months they were telling us that we were always too prudent in our analysis.

Now the big problem they face is that yes, we predicted a surplus of $10 billion and it will be $15 billion. We are not going in the direction of having a deficit. We are doing exactly the contrary at this moment.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

He avoided the question, Mr. Speaker. I can assure him that I have never accused a Liberal spender of being too prudent. I have never said that.

Canadians have worked too hard to see the deficit eliminated. They are still working hard, too hard, to see it squandered because of poor planning on behalf of and on the part of the government.

Will the Prime Minister commit to and charge his finance minister with tabling a five year update, as the finance minister has done in the past, to try to give assurance? Now he is talking about a two year update as if there is something to hide in year three. Will he tell his finance minister to table a five year update as he has in the past?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the Minister of Finance to do exactly what he has done in the last eight years, and that is to be a good Minister of Finance and produce more surpluses in the years to come.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I think that he said no.

It is very clear that this government is going to take the contingency reserve and use it to pay for its election promises.>

Will the Prime Minister tell us here and now that he will not dip into the reserve, except in the event of an emergency?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the word contingency reserve means for use in the event of an emergency. That is why we have a contingency reserve. Why? Because emergencies sometimes arise.

So we will not use the reserve if there is no emergency and, if there is no emergency, we will once again use the contingency reserve to pay down the debt.