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House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was endangered.

Topics

Species at Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Precisely, Madam Speaker. I was talking about the general tendency of the government to control anything it wants to by making it into a criminal offence. Because the federal government by law has jurisdiction over federal criminal law it can make it into a criminal offence. That is precisely what I was driving at and I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for drawing the attention of all the people listening to that important fact. Our amendments in this group address that issue. We are saying this is not a criminal offence.

I will give a specific example. I have related this in the House before, but it was a long time ago. It bears repeating because it is a good example. I was driving along in my old Chevy Suburban on my way to a meeting somewhere in my riding and a mother duck came out from the side with five or six little ducklings waddling along behind her. I can relate to that family. I immediately checked my rear view mirror. I computed that the truck behind me would have time to stop. If I did not stop for these ducks, the truck behind me would undoubtedly have wiped out the family. I said to myself, I think he can stop because he was far enough back, so I threw on my four way flashers and put on my brakes. I stopped and observed mother duck taking all her little ducklings across the road. This is not an endangered species, however it demonstrates that I for one am not ready to run over a family of ducks and little ducklings because they are to be protected. They are also a form of life.

What happens though if I am driving along, and let us take that same scenario, and the truck behind me could not possibly stop? Would I stop? No. I would say that my life and the life of the truck driver, who may be forced to take the ditch, are more important than this poor little duck family. I would have to make that instant but difficult decision and I would make the right one.

The same thing is true for endangered species. I grew up on a farm and I related this also the other day when I spoke on Group No. 1. Sometimes, much to our regret, we would not notice a nest of birds with eggs until it was too late and totally accidental. What does the Liberal government do? The government says to farmers who fail to protect an endangered species that if they run over and kill an endangered species family they would go to jail. There would be a fine of $50,000. That is not fair because the principle of law is that criminal offences only apply when criminal intent is intended.

It is a criminal offence to use guns in producing a crime. It is not a criminal offence to fail to fill in paperwork. It is a criminal offence to wilfully and purposefully destroy the life of an endangered species. It is not a criminal offence to do so accidentally. Does the bill give any peace of mind to farmers and other people, hunters who happen to be out driving somewhere in the woods? It gives no peace of mind to them. It makes them into criminals even though there is no criminal intent. The principle of the bill is wrong. Our amendments in this group try to address that.

It would be great if we could go through those amendments one by one in detail. If all the Liberal members would pay close attention and think about the principles they may say that they had better amend the bill and make sure it is corrected. Maybe the Alliance amendments would do that and the Liberals would support them. That would be the correct way of responding to this offensive legislation, or at least the parts of the legislation which are so offensive because the intent of it is fine.

Species at Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Madam Speaker, here we go again. In the last parliament it was Bill C-33, the species at risk act. Did the government pass it? No it did not. We have come full circle to Bill C-5. The public should know the government fully intends not to make it work. This is a bill the government understands is clearly unworkable.

That is why my party and all of the opposition parties have introduced 136 amendments. Why? We want to make sure the bill is workable and that we have a bill that will protect endangered species.

The public would also be interested to know that the government has violated its own members. Many members on the committee from all sides, including the government side, proffered good, constructive solutions that if listened to would make the bill strong, workable and ensure that endangered species are protected. However the government has not done that. I read that the Prime Minister's Office and the minister's office have chosen to introduce amendments and changes that would emasculate the bill, so we will have a bill that cannot work.

I was appalled when I went up to the environment committee once and took a look at the bill which is about 3 cm thick. This is a 3 cm thick bill that is so unworkable that it begs for legal problems that will only tie up the courts and will not in the end protect endangered species. There are three areas that we want to focus on in the bill: mandatory compensation, penalties for the intentional destruction of habitats and jurisdiction.

On the issue of mandatory compensation many of us have been proffering that this is the way to go and yet the government has not done that. It has left it up to the jurisdiction of the minister. We cannot save species without enabling mandatory compensation. What has worked in many other parts of the world is they have sat down with the different stakeholders. In fact in Saskatchewan, with respect to the black footed ferret, the provincial government has done an outstanding job by working with farmers and ranchers to set up methods of compensation to ensure farmers would not be done hard by and that critical habitat would be protected. That is a model the federal government should be looking at because it works.

The second issue is one of jurisdiction. We have a bill here that would deal with federal lands which is a small percentage of our total landmass. Endangered species do not know jurisdictions. A bird, a plant, or an animal will go where it wants to with no care of jurisdictions. We have a bill that will not protect endangered species at all.

Why is this important? We have 198 species that are at risk. Those numbers are not going down they are going up. If we rolled back time 50 years we would see the variety of species, the biodiversity of animals and plants that we had then. We are in the worst possible time in the history of the planet. Species are going extinct at a rate that is astronomical. The species we have today will be very different from what we will have in our children's or grandchildren's lives. They will be far more restricted and constricted.

How do we deal with this? First we must list species and habitat on the basis of scientific evidence not on the basis of political expediency. The way to do that is to deal with COSEWIC, committee on the status of endangered wildlife in Canada. This is a group of esteemed scientists who have put forth an articulate, scientifically based analysis of the species that are at risk. That is what the species at risk should be based on.

There is the issue of protection. The government should work with the provinces and municipalities to protect critical habitat. In that way we protect all of the habitat not a small sliver, which the bill attempts to do but fails in doing. As I explained earlier we should look at the example of Saskatchewan in regard to compensation.

I wish to talk about CITES, the convention on the international trade in endangered species. The public would be shocked to know that the trafficking of endangered species is the second largest trafficking product in the world behind drugs. It is a multibillion dollar industry. Canada is one of the top three centres for trafficking in endangered species in the world. This has been known for years, yet in my eight years of being here I have not once heard from the government any effort to make sure that our obligations as a signatory to CITES would be upheld. In fact, we are known as a country that is completely violating our obligations under this important convention.

The last part deals penalties. A person recently was found trafficking in one of the largest consignments of ivory ever found and received a $10,000 fine. That is absolutely pathetic. We need penalties that are strong, tough and apply to those individuals who wilfully cut the gallbladders out of black bears, destroy herds of endangered ungulates and damage, destroy and pick plants of medicinal value that are threatened or becoming extinct. Heavy penalties must be applied because the profits from the trafficking of these species is huge.

I have two private member's bills that deal with all of these issues. The government needs to look at them and I hope adopt those bills. They would enable us to accomplish good, strong endangered species legislation.

There are two last points on which I wish to speak. First is our international obligation. We have to ensure that Canadian companies working abroad are not wilfully destroying the environment.

There is a situation right now in Belize where a Canadian company, Fortis, is involved in building the Chalillo dam on the Macal River. This dam would destroy the largest area of pristine habitat in Central America. This is being done by a Canadian company through environmental studies that were sponsored by CIDA. When we try to get an answer from CIDA, it twists every which way like a pretzel to not allow the House to have information as to where taxpayers' money was or will be spent regarding environmental studies on this particular project.

The public would be appalled to think that the government is wilfully ignoring evidence that this dam would destroy critical habitat for jaguars, tapirs and numerous tropical birds in Central America. Why should taxpayers fund studies that would not be released but may show evidence that a Canadian company is destroying the largest undisturbed habitat in Central America? Canadians would be shocked if they knew that. Yet the government obfuscates and obstructs any kind of effort to find out that information.

The last area deals with balancing off the interests of the public in terms of endangered species. During my time working in Africa I spent a lot of time in the African bush looking at ways in which the environment could be protected. After my 17 trips there and hundreds of hours in the bush, the best evidence that I have ever seen comes from a place in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Officials married up private interests with habitat protection. They came to the conclusion that animals, plants and habitat must pay for themselves if they are to survive. Wanting these things to survive will not work because these areas need value, and indeed this can be done. Funds can be generated from habitat through culling for protein, hunting for game, and charging large amounts of money as a certain number of game is actually taken out. This can also be done for medicinal plants which can be grown to generate money.

The money generated from this as well as from ecotourism and other opportunities must be shared by two areas. First, some of that money has to go back into the environment, to the game wardens and the parks people that are there to protect the environment. Second, it has to be shared by the people in the surrounding areas. If the people in the surrounding areas do not see value in a particular reserve or park, that reserve or park will be destroyed.

There is a model that I would like to see the government use when it is at the G-8 summit. It is part of the new plan for African development that it is working on. By linking up the Johannesburg summit, the Rio summit and the G-8 summit, and by triangulating those three things we would be able to involve poverty reduction, primary education along with the protection of endangered species and critical habitat.

If we are able to do that we will accomplish the objective of the bill which is to protect endangered species in Canada.

Species at Risk ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Madam Speaker, I know first-hand the need for effective species at risk legislation. I am a resident of Saskatchewan, a province that has been converted from a rich grassland ecosystem with an abundance and diversity of wildlife species to one of the most modified landscapes in North America.

Saskatchewan has suffered the loss of more than 40 million acres of natural landscape. The statistics are beyond alarming. Some 75% of native grasslands are gone; 80% of the aspen parkland is lost; 50% of wetlands are gone; and 20% of our native plants are listed as rare and are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Progress in alleviating the problem has been the result of a joint effort between legislators and landowners. Local communities such as Wadena and Chaplin have capitalized on tourism opportunities promoting the importance of local wetlands.

The key to this is the people of Saskatchewan who took enough pride in their environment to protect and promote it. For the species at risk act to be effective we therefore need co-operation with the provinces. The bill before us would give the federal government power to impose its laws on provincial lands. To make matters worse, the process would be left to the minister's discretion. That is too much uncertainty for landowners.

There are landowners and farmers in my community who have resentment and distrust for the government regarding Bill C-5. The government is not getting off on the right foot when these are the initial reactions to its legislation.

Saskatchewan has an endangered species legislation. It is based on co-operation and the premise that endangered species exist on private land because of landowners and not in spite of them.

Landowners appreciate wildlife and make a point of preserving habitat on their land. They often do this at their own expense. Saskatchewan's legislation was an entirely co-operative effort with the agricultural community. It was designed to assist and reward landowners with species at risk on their land. Co-operation and compensation are key elements.

National ParksStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the creation of Kluane National Park in Yukon. On February 22, 1972, over 22,000 square kilometres was proclaimed Kluane Park and Reserve.

Kluane Park is home to Canada's tallest point, Mount Logan, but the park boasts more than sheer physical beauty. Kluane is the home to a unique culture that dates back thousands of years as the traditional territory of the Southern Tutchone people. Today the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation and the Kluane First Nation continue to carry out traditional activities like hunting and trapping in the Kluane region.

It is estimated that 60,000 people visit the park every year. I urge members of the House today to visit one of the most stunning national parks in the country. The year 2002 marks the International Year of Mountains as well as the International Year of Ecotourism so I can think of no better place to celebrate these events than in Yukon's Kluane National Park.

To hon. members I say thanks, merci, Masi Cho .

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Madam Speaker, I bring to the attention of the House the plight of a family in my riding, a situation that was first brought to light here by my predecessor before the last federal election and that has touched our leader and other caucus members.

The Vivier family came to Prince Rupert from South Africa because of the cloudy climate there, as three of the family members suffer from an illness called porphyria which is non-communicable but causes the sufferer to have a severe allergic reaction to sunlight.

There have been letters written to the minister and petitions tabled in the House on their behalf. On Wednesday, February 20 the city of Prince Rupert held a town rally to show its support for the family who truly fits the humanitarian and compassionate immigration clause.

I have written to the minister about the issue at the beginning of the month and have yet to receive a reply. I would urge the minister once again to please take notice of the issue and reply to my concerns as soon as possible.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Madam Speaker, the Reverend John C. Holland Awards were recently held in Hamilton to mark the beginning of Black History Month. I congratulate the recipients honoured at the awards dinner.

Both Norma Rookwood and the Stewart Memorial Church were recognized for their efforts in preserving and promoting black history in Hamilton. Brock University professor Dr. Sybil E. Wilson was honoured for professional achievement in her field of education.

Tanya Charles, concertmaster for the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, received the Youth Achievement Award and Jeremy Shand was awarded the Educational Bursary of $1,000 toward his multimedia studies at Humber College.

I am sure all the hon. members will join me in congratulating the winners for their achievements and for their contribution to the Hamilton community.

2002 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York North, ON

Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure to stand today to acknowledge the accomplishments of two of our Canadian athletes who earned medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

I congratulate Veronica Brenner of Sharon, Ontario from my riding of York North who placed second and won the silver medal in the aerials event, just ahead of her teammate Deidra Dionne. A three time Canadian champion, Veronica Brenner has been one of Canada's most successful women's aerialists and is considered a veteran of the sport of freestyle skiing. Veronica has made an astonishing comeback this season after a serious injury she sustained in the fall of 2000.

Deidra Dionne won the Olympic bronze medal in the aerials event on the strength of a tremendous second jump. This talented young athlete promises a golden future for Canadian freestyle skiing.

I am sure hon. members will join me in congratulating these fine young athletes for their great victories.

National ParksStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, on January 10, 1972, the fabulous Kluane National Park in Yukon and the Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories were established. They were added to the network of national parks that is the most powerful protection for natural heritage, plants and animals in Canada. I join the member for Yukon in celebrating this 30th anniversary.

More recently parliament passed Bill C-10, an act respecting marine conservation areas of Canada. The act would allow the establishment of marine national park-like areas to protect life in the 50% of our territory which is under the ocean.

I urge all members to work to further strengthen our wonderful national parks system on land and sea. Each Canadian is custodian of an unusually large part of the globe. Let us be good custodians preserving natural heritage for future generations.

2002 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Canada's Olympic medallists. In particular, I congratulate the women of Canada's Olympic team.

The Salt Lake City Olympics has been a great success for Canadian competitors in women's disciplines. Cindy Klassen won our first medal in 3,000 metre long track speed skating. Veronica Brenner and Deidra Dionne shared the podium in the women's aerials. The women's hockey team is on track for either silver or gold. Again, these women have made history in Canada because they are world class athletes.

Beckie Scott became the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in nordic skiing, and originally from my own riding of Blackstrap, Catriona LeMay Doan became the first Canadian athlete to defend her Olympic gold in the same individual event.

There have been some disappointments in these Olympics and I personally believe we need to pay more attention to amateur sport in this country, but the victories have been glorious and we should make sure we give all the athletes our heartfelt thanks for representing our country with such class.

2002 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, while most of us may never compete at the Olympic level of athletic competition, all Canadians can take pride in those who have worked hard and earned their way to Salt Lake City for the 19th Winter Olympic Games.

My fellow colleagues in the national capital region caucus are extremely proud of Ottawa resident Jeff Bean for taking fourth place in the aerials event in freestyle skiing and Andy Capicik from Vancouver who also captured 8th place in the finals.

We are also impressed by the solid performance of Beckie Scott in cross country skiing who placed 5th in a field of 58 of the world's best skiers after taking part in four hard fought races in one single day.

In the final phase of the ice dance competition nine time Canadian champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz made us all proud once again.

All members of the Canadian Olympic team have lit the torch and inspired the Olympic spirit in the hearts of future Canadian athletes. On behalf of all my colleagues I congratulate them.

Guaranteed Income SupplementStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois' information tour on the guaranteed income supplement allowed us to observe that the federal government's inaction is not simply limited to this flagrant robbery.

Indeed, seniors who live alone, mostly women, are subject to unjust discrimination that condemns them to a life of poverty. What is more, these seniors' purchasing power diminishes because the real increases in the cost of living for seniors is much greater than the average indexation that they are given.

The federal government must make seniors' quality of life a priority, and the Bloc Quebecois will act as a watchdog on this matter.

In the short term, it is clear that this government should make it a priority to provide a full retroactive refund to seniors who did not receive the benefits to which they were entitled. This most economically disadvantaged group deserves this money, some $3.2 billion, through the guaranteed income supplement, money that they were deprived of for several years.

It is quite simply unacceptable to save money on the backs of our senior citizens.

International Mother Language DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, February 21 was proclaimed International Mother Language Day by UNESCO. The purpose of this day, which is being celebrated for the third time, is to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education in all of UNESCO's areas of activity, and to increase development of fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

Mother languages are in integral part of our intangible heritage and are an essential component of everyone's cultural identity, an identity which must be protected and strengthened in the interest of all peoples in this era of accelerated globalization.

On this day, UNESCO pays tribute to the myriad of languages of the world and to the cultures transmitted therein. There are over 6,000 languages spoken in the world; some are written, others are not. However, on this International Mother Language Day, all languages are treated equally, because each one is a unique response to the human condition and each one is a living heritage that deserves our concern.

As the saying goes, “By speaking to one another we can understand one another”.

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, because of unfair labour restrictions that prohibit Ontario construction workers from doing jobs in Quebec, the Ontario government has re-enacted its fairness is a two way street law which will impose similar restrictions on Quebec firms.

This is the madness of internal protectionism, one of the reasons that Canada's standard of living and productivity are in decline. When provincial governments erect barriers to the free flow of goods and services like the construction trade in Quebec, we all lose.

This internal trade war is happening because the federal government has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to ensure domestic free trade and has failed to act on the 1994 agreement on internal trade.

Unfortunately, this government is sitting on the sidelines, while Ontario and Quebec have a dispute over manpower mobility. The Association pour le droit au travail is concerned about the future of tradesmen and is asking for help.

I urge this government to play a leading role to ensure true free trade between the provinces.

International Mother Tongue DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, today is the official opening of an exhibition of Pangnirtung tapestries called Nuvisavik: the Place Where We Weave, at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Pangnirtung is a Nunavut community famous for majestic scenery and abundant marine life as well as the artistry of the weavers and print makers. Pangnirtung is located in the south of Baffin Island and is one of the gateways to the spectacular Auyuittuq National Park. I have visited the tapestry studio in Pangnirtung many times and was impressed by the hard work, artistic vision and dedication of the weavers.

I thank everyone involved in putting this exhibition on and encourage my hon. colleagues to attend this interesting exhibition in celebration of International Mother Tongue Day.

2002 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I stand today to recognize the efforts of two Canadian Olympians from my riding of Windsor--St. Clair.

Tonight five time Canadian champion Jennifer Robinson competes in the women's figure skating program. I am sure all members of the House will join me in wishing her the best of luck.

Last night Windsor native Ed Jovanovski turned in a phenomenal performance and was instrumental in Team Canada's 2-1 win over Finland. We all wish Ed and the rest of Canada's men's team the best of luck as they continue their quest for the gold.

I am sure that not only my constituents in Windsor--St. Clair but all Canadians join with me to say “Go Jennifer. Go Ed. We know you will do Canada proud”.

Human CloningStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, people continue ask the government to regulate genetic research and ban human cloning. By not developing adequate policies on these issues, Canada is lagging behind other countries in this area.

Indeed, France, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Australia already have policies to regulate this fast evolving research area.

Let us not forget that there is a lot of money to be made by patenting cloning processes or specific types of stem cells.

Researchers and scientists agree that cloning techniques are still not refined enough to get into human cloning. The risk is too great. We must quickly ban reproductive cloning, to prevent apprentice cloners from doing the irreparable.

I urge the Minister of Health to introduce a bill as quickly as possible. It is urgent that we take action.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Price Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 the Parliament of Canada officially designated February as Black History Month. In honour of Black History Month the Government of Canada established the Mathieu Da Costa challenge in February 1996.

Mathieu Da Costa is generally recognized as being the first recorded black person in Canada, arriving at the start of the 17th century. He was reputed to be the first of many black Canadians who made important contributions to the country and shaped much of who we are as Canadians today. Mathieu Da Costa was a translator and interpreter who succeeded in bridging the linguistic gap between the Mi'kmaq people and the French explorers. By bridging the differences in language, Da Costa was instrumental in bridging cultures as well, creating an honest and open relationship between people of different backgrounds, which continues to be an integral part of Canadian society.

The Mathieu Da Costa challenge is administered by the Canadian Teachers' Federation. It invites elementary and secondary school students to research, discover and celebrate the contributions made by aboriginals and Canadians of diverse ethnocultural origins, such as Mathieu Da Costa, to the building of this great country of Canada.

Legal AidStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, access to legal aid across Canada is in a serious state of decline. Just this morning we read that British Columbia is going to cut legal aid by 38%. In Ontario the legal aid pay scale has not changed since 1987. All regions are facing similar challenges and deterioration of service.

A lack of legal aid access to those in society who are in conflict with the law or in need of representation is suffering. This injustice cannot be ignored. Access to justice for low income Canadians is a national problem and needs to be addressed by our national government. We need to recognize the diverse legal needs of all Canadians, not just those who can afford it.

Fewer and fewer lawyers are offering pro bono work. Backlogs and delays and the increasing complexity of the law are all contributors to this situation. The lawyers that do legal aid work are like the MASH unit of the legal profession. Those dedicated few on the front lines are making it work only because they are consummate professionals who are often taken for granted.

I call upon the Minister of Justice to sit down with the provincial attorneys general and embark on a concerted effort to address this growing crisis in Canada.

Highway 11Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently three transport trucks, one headed south and two headed north, collided on highway 11. Three people were killed. One of them, Bharat Saini, was from my riding. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

Highway 11 is increasingly the route of choice for trucks in Ontario headed for western Canada, especially in the winter. Improvements to this highway are therefore needed.

I call upon the Minister of Transport to work with his provincial counterparts in using infrastructure funds to make the necessary improvements to highway 11. This highway must be made safer for transport truck drivers and tourists and for all drivers.

Team CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past few days, the Team Canada trade mission, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, has been travelling around Russia and Germany to promote Canada's trade relations, particularly for small and medium-size businesses.

The team includes representatives of Warnex, a Laval company which is developing a brand new technology for the speedy and inexpensive detection of the presence of GMOs in food, based on DNA, as well as the presence of bacteria. Warnex hopes to develop new business relations leading to international opportunities.

All the best to our Canadian companies and organizations who, by participating in Team Canada, will be able to explore the potential of these new markets.

National DefenceOral Question Period

February 21st, 2002 / 2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is too busy defending himself to focus on defending Canada.

Douglas Bland, a leading military expert at Queen's University, released a report today warning that our lack of defence spending is reducing our sovereignty and our clout on the world stage. He calls this another wake-up call for the government. The auditor general says that DND needs at least $1.2 billion just to keep its equipment in order.

When will the minister commit to giving our forces the support that they need?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government is supporting our Canadian forces. Over $5 billion over the next five years in new money will be added to the budget. The budget will rank us the sixth country in NATO and the 16th in the world in terms of defence spending.

In addition to looking at money being put into defence, let us also look at what we get out of it, the outcomes. Let us look at what our troops are doing in Afghanistan and in the Arabian Sea. They are doing an excellent job.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they are doing such a great job he did not want to tell us for over a week when they did something.

The minister today hinted at a new defence white paper. A review of our military may be a good idea if only so that defence planning can be taken out of the hands of the minister and given to people who know what they are doing.

Many of our forces fear that a new defence white paper would simply be a way to justify reducing the size and the scope of the Canadian forces.

Will the minister commit that any new defence white paper will not reduce Canada's commitment to any of the objectives of the last white paper?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, many of the fundamentals of the last white paper that was done in 1994 are quite relevant: protecting Canada and Canadians, contributing to security of the continent, contributing to international peace and security through peace support operations, through organizations such as the United Nations and through NATO. Those are still quite relevant.

We need to look at the kind of defence capabilities we need. It has been eight years since that white paper was designed. The security environment has changed. This is a good opportunity to do an update.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister talked about money for defence, but this year in the budget he got $250 million and the auditor general said $1.2 billion just to break even.

Ambassador Cellucci put it pretty bluntly yesterday when he said that some people, including Liberal backbenchers, see further defence co-operation with the U.S. as a threat to Canadian sovereignty but find it perfectly acceptable to rely on the U.S. to provide lift to deploy Canadian troops.

We should not have to rely on the U.S. air force or commercial airlines to get our troops abroad or repeat the GTS Katie fiasco in trying to move our tanks and equipment.

Like our U.S., British and European allies, will Canada finally develop its own strategic airlift capacity?