Mr. Speaker, this is an unusual circumstance for me today. I find myself, for the first time in a year, being on the same side with my colleague from Burnaby--Douglas. That does not happen often so it is a rare moment.
I agree wholeheartedly with many of the comments that have been made today. I suppose, besides expressing my concern and sympathy to the Canadian public if this bill passes as it stands today, I would like to express my concern and sympathy to members on the government side of the House who worked on the committee.
On the opposition side of the House it is not uncommon for us to have worked very diligently and very hard to put through very well thought out amendments which are defeated. It happens. We are on the opposition side and quite often that is what happens. However, for members on the government side to have worked so diligently alongside all other members in the House and to have put forward with great diligence amendments that would work, thoughts that would make the bill workable and to have that shot down must be very disappointing. They have my sympathy.
The government wants to amend Bill C-5 to reverse many of the positions that were taken by the Liberal MPs on the environment committee. This is another example of top down that has been happening all year. It has to stop. There is not a single Canadian in my opinion who would not want to protect endangered species. When a species is eliminated from this world, it never comes back again and we are all the worse for that.
This piece of legislation could be made very workable. The biggest obstacle it faces is the fact that there is no fair compensation in this package. It is unreasonable to expect anyone to allow someone else to walk in and say “This is for your own good. I am going to take your land away because there is a species on there that needs to protected and no, I am sorry, I will not compensate you for it”. Who in their right mind will accept that?
My colleague from Wild Rose has said in the House several times on this piece of legislation that it is promoting shoot, shovel and shut up. I agree with him completely. If the intent of this is to protect species, we have to do it with fairness. If we do not, then that is precisely what will happen. If we ask people to make a choice between the preservation of a spotted owl, for example, and their ability to make a livelihood out of a woodlot, they will choose their livelihood.
In the current situation with the softwood lumber deal, it will have a more significant impact. We cannot ask people to choose between their livelihood, their living and the species. It will not happen so there has to be adequate compensation. To do otherwise will ensure the demise of a lot of species, which would be a very poor thing to have happen in this country.
I do not understand a government that treats people like children. That is one of the hardest things for me to accept. There should have been a consultation process that worked. I am certain that during the consultation process members on all sides of the House relayed the feelings of their constituents on how this piece of legislation would affect them negatively.
I would think that our role in government would be to take all that into consideration and put together something that would work for all concerned. There were 130 amendments that came forward. I am proud to say that 60 of them came from our caucus. Unfortunately, after all the wrangling, all the discussions and all the talk that took place, they were thrown out.
Is it any wonder that people in this country have less and less faith in politicians, in the system and in law. If we want people to respect law and respect the decisions that are made by politicians, they have to make sense. The bill does not make sense. I cannot possibly support the way this is going. If there is not adequate compensation, I do not think the public of Canada will support it either. If the aim is to destroy species, then the bill is going in the right direction.