Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the interventions made so far.
I draw members' attention to a document which was discussed in committee. It was prepared by Peter Pearse of Vancouver and is entitled “Sharing Responsibility: Principles and Procedures for Compensation Under the Species at Risk Act” which is the bill we are debating right now. It is a report to the Minister of the Environment. It is worthwhile to put on record the following paragraph which is found on page 18:
Compensation should be paid strictly to people who have a legal interest in the land subjected to the regulatory controls. This is not to say that others will not be adversely affected--contractors, employees, local communities and others, even taxpayers may suffer direct or indirect losses. But measurement of all the economic effects--positive as well as negative--that might ripple through a community or region would be unmanageable. In any event, the objective is to deal fairly with people whose property rights are infringed, which does not require an attempt to offset all other effects on other people and their interests. Moreover, I have found no precedent, even in expropriation law, for compensation to people who have no property rights infringed.
The author concludes on page 31:
At several points in this report I have emphasized the need for caution in developing and implementing the compensation arrangements provided by the proposed act. One reason for this is that the Species at Risk Act contemplates compensation only when owners of the affected land do not enter into cooperative arrangements, which, in effect, threatens to weaken incentives to cooperate.
That is a key sentence as far as I can make out. The author goes on:
Another reason is that providing compensation for environmental controls of this kind is a break from established policies of governments in Canada and implies a precedent with far-reaching implications. A third reason is the need to reconcile the sensitive, overlapping responsibilities and programs of federal, provincial, territorial and aboriginal authorities in wildlife management.