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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

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in exactly one month, the Americans will bring back countervailing duties and, in May, businesses will have to make cash deposits on their softwood lumber exports.

On Monday of this week, the Americans had not come up with any counter-offer, had offered no guarantee of a return to free trade, and they took an even tougher stand vis-à-vis the provinces.

Given the situation, does the government intend to announce measures to support the softwood lumber industry and its workers, for instance by making guaranteed loans available to the industry.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the issue the member raises, more commonly known as bonding, is an option that is under consideration. A limited number of companies today have approached Export Development Canada for assistance. Some applications have been received and are under consideration. EDC is looking at these applications on a case by case basis. It is very sensitive to the harm that our industry and workers face. We hope there will be some approval of applications shortly.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is clear evidence that Alfonso Gagliano and his staff violated the conflict of interest code prohibiting the preferential hiring of supporters and friends. Not surprisingly the Liberal government is refusing to allow a parliamentary committee to investigate the scandal.

Will the current minister of public works finally request an RCMP investigation, or is he content to remain complicit in the government cover-up?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, these accusations are extremely inappropriate against someone who has faithfully served his constituents, the House and the country for almost two decades. This is inappropriate behaviour.

The hon. member says it and if he believes what he says, I suggest that he says it out there after question period.

TradeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, last month I was able to rise in the House and ask the Minister for International Trade about a file that was very important to my region of the country.

A possible trade agreement between Canada and the European Free Trade Association could have a devastating effect on the fledgling offshore and marine supply industries in Atlantic Canada.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade provide the House with an update on this important file?

TradeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario

Liberal

Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member and his Atlantic colleagues for their hard work in highlighting this serious concern. The Government of Canada continues to be involved in very extensive consultations with the industry and with relevant stakeholders.

At this point in time there is no date for a resumption of talks, but obviously the government is very concerned about the serious issues faced by the industry. These extensive consultations will continue as we welcome the representations from the member and his colleagues.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, for a number of years I have been trying to get a satisfactory answer from the government on the retention of the Gabriola Island Green Wharf which acts as a major transportation link for hundreds of people who live on Mudge Island in my riding.

We now have a new minister of public works. Could he give my constituents of Nanaimo--Cowichan assurance that they will have continued use of this important marine facility?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I have had a conversation with the hon. member and I am pleased to announced that following our meeting I am announcing an indefinite moratorium on the disposal of Green Wharf until the access rule status has been resolved.

Additionally I want to inform him that no further action will be taken for the dismantling of the wharf. I have now asked my officials to continue the negotiations with the regional district of Nanaimo for the maintenance and the eventual transfer of the facility. I thank the hon. member.

Canada Lands CompanyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, in connection with the Canada Lands Company, we have learned that the RCMP has had in its possession since 1999 an investigation report prepared by Samson Bélair Deloitte & Touche concerning the conditions under which Robert Charest, the brother of Jean Charest—as you know—the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, was hired.

How does the solicitor general explain that almost three years went by before an investigation was launched, and, more to the point, that it was launched only after the Samson Bélair Deloitte & Touche report became public knowledge?

Canada Lands CompanyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is well aware that if a complaint is made to the RCMP or other police forces I will certainly not comment in the House on why or why not an investigation went one way or did not go one way.

JusticeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question for the Minister of Justice has to do with the gun registry. Whatever the varying views of the gun registry might be in the House, it would seem to me that most Canadians would share the concern that we have and that others have about the privatization of the gun registry.

Given that this information is very sensitive, is the Minister of Justice reconsidering the decision taken by his predecessor to privatize this registry and make sure that this kind of information stays with the government and is not contracted out to some fly by night outfit or whatever else they have in mind?

JusticeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Simply put, Mr. Speaker, we do not talk about privatizing. The aim and goal of what we are doing essentially is outsourcing. It is to make sure that we will keep being able to offer good services to the Canadian population and deliver what we said we would deliver.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the government House leader what is the business for the rest of today, tomorrow and next week.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

February 21st, 2002 / 3 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we will continue this afternoon with report stage debate of Bill C-5 respecting species at risk.

Tomorrow we will consider report stage and third reading of Bill C-30, the courts administration legislation, and return to third reading of Bill C-27 respecting nuclear safety. Bill C-48, the copyright bill, will be our backup work for tomorrow afternoon if we have time.

Next week, we will return to Bill C-5. We are now in the third day of the report stage of that bill and I should think that the House would want to complete consideration of this bill without much further delay. As early as we can, depending on when Bill C-49, the Budget Implementation Act, 2001, is reported from committee, we will want to try to deal with it at the report and third reading stages.

Thursday of next week, February 28, will be an allotted day.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Without naming any names, I have just noticed a member of parliament on his cellphone in the House. I wish you would re-emphasize to members that this is not a place for telephone conversations or cellphones. It is a place where we should be paying attention to each other.

I would ask that you reaffirm, in the strongest possible way, that people should not bring their cellphones into the House and at the very least should not be using them in the House.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona for his point of order because he is absolutely correct. We do have a rule against bringing cellphones into the House. I have had occasion to chastise members in the past who have left their telephones on and indeed some whom I have caught speaking on them.

I am sorry I did not see it. Had I done so, I can assure the hon. member that I would have taken appropriate steps to chastise the member involved. I thank him for drawing it to the attention of the House. I am sure all hon. members have noted his comments and mine.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with respect to a question that was raised in question period today by the hon. member for Saint John. Within that context, the hon. member was interrupted in posing that question on the basis the Speaker maintained that an issue before a committee could not properly form the subject matter of a question.

I refer to House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Marleau and Montpetit, chapter 11 at page 429 which deals specifically with the subject matter concerning matters before a committee. I know the Speaker is intimately familiar with the rules of practice and procedure here, but I draw the attention of the Chair specifically to the bottom paragraph at page 429 where it states:

Questions to the Ministry on legislation or on a subject matter that is before a committee, when appropriately cast, are normally permitted as long as the questioning does not interfere with the committee's work or anticipate its report.

In reviewing the question posed by my colleague from Saint John, I think you would find that the question was on the subject matter of an issue which arose in the House that was contradicted at the committee. It was widely reported. It was the subject matter of much public debate and in the public domain.

Therefore I respectfully submit the question did not contravene the rules of procedure and was properly posed. Again for emphasis I suggest that this question was not in contravention of the rules of the House.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I beg to differ with the hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough. His citation of the appropriate words from Marleau and Montpetit is absolutely correct. It is his characterization of the question that causes me trouble.

As he said, the member for Saint John posed a question based on a statement the minister made in the House and another statement that the minister made in committee; but the statement made in the House had been referred to the committee by motion of the House following a ruling from the Chair on a question of privilege and was the subject matter of the discussion in the committee.

I refer the hon. member further to page 885 of Marleau and Montpetit, the chapter on committees:

It is not in order for Members to allude to committee proceedings or evidence in the House until the committee has presented its report to the House. This restriction applies both to references made by Members in debate and during Oral Question Period.

I think that disposes of the matter and I stand by the ruling I made at the time. In my view the question was out of order.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, during question period I posed a question of the minister of public works regarding the breach of the code of ethics by Alfonso Gagliano and his staff to seek preferential hiring treatment for Liberal supporters and friends.

In response the minister invited me to go into the lobby and repeat that. I am prepared to do that. I am on my way to the lobby now and if he wishes to join me I welcome him.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

We thank the hon. member for the clarification on that point.

The House resumed consideration of Bill C-5, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada,, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 2.

Species at Risk ActGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will go back to endangered species and to my support for the general concept of a federal species at risk bill. Over 80% of Canadians are concerned about species at risk and support efforts to prevent species from becoming extinct.

I am part of that 80%. My home province of Saskatchewan signed on to the concept of federal species at risk legislation several years ago. The plan it signed on to was a complementary and co-operative process with the provinces. However today I stand before the House as a concerned member of parliament. I represent a concerned province and concerned constituents.

The proposed legislation goes far beyond the intent of the accord signed by the provinces and the federal government in the late 1990s. Saskatchewan like many other provinces has serious concerns about the direction in which this species at risk legislation is headed.

I hope that through talking about Saskatchewan's experience with this type of legislation it would be clear to all members of the House how important co-operation is. This legislation cannot be effective without co-operation.

I strongly oppose the clause in Bill C-5 that allows the minister entirely, at his own discretion and without any criteria, negotiation or accountability, to impose federal law on provincial jurisdiction. This will not facilitate the co-operation about which I have spoken extensively. That is wrong. It will bring confrontation and will ultimately be unworkable. The species at risk in my province and my country deserve better than a piece of ineffective legislation.

I understand the necessity of the federal species at risk legislation. We have seen the importance of it when the federal government passed the Migratory Birds Convention Act in 1994, but we need to have a balance between federal and provincial jurisdictions to meet the two extremes of each power. There needs to be negotiation with the provinces.

I strongly encourage the government to look at Bill C-5 on the aspect of jurisdiction. The bill should not be passed until this key aspect has been considered.

I spoke briefly about this topic when I was in the House yesterday and today I need to reiterate what I said then. The way in which Bill C-5 would delegate jurisdiction between the federal and provincial levels encourages confrontation rather than co-operation with the provinces.

Bill C-5 would give the federal government's Minister of the Environment the power to impose its laws on provincial lands completely at the discretion of the minister. However it may be necessary to give the federal government some measure of power to impose its laws on provinces that are not behaving with an adequate respect for these species, but using discretion as a measure of power given to the federal minister is hopelessly vague. It is unfair to leave decisions falling into the realm of jurisdiction up to the discretion of one person.

In our criminal justice system the decision on whether or not to convict someone of a criminal offence lies in the hands and discretion of twelve people and not one. When a decision such as this one is left up to discretion we open the door to one's moral, ethical and even religious dispositions to come into the mix. This is something sure to spark endless debate.

We need strict guidelines on when the federal government can impose its laws on the provinces so that the provinces and the landowners know what to expect in terms of interference from the federal level.

Since Bill C-5 leaves the power of the federal government completely at the discretion of the minister responsible, landowners do not know if or when the federal government can or will impose its laws on provincial lands. Instead of working together with the provinces and property owners the federal government is introducing uncertainty, resentment and distrust.

The federal government must be responsible for ensuring that it consult and co-operate with the provinces when making these considerations.

Somewhat ironically, in a 1999 independent study commissioned by the federal government, a review of national accord gap analysis, nine out of the twelve provinces and territories scored higher than the federal government regarding wildlife conservation. In fact, the federal government scored 44% on the test whereas all of the prairie provinces scored in the top five with marks ranging from 64% in British Columbia to 85% in Alberta.

How can one not see the irony in this? Under these conditions which are found in a study commissioned by the federal government itself, it still insists that federal wildlife officials be allowed to peer over the shoulder of its provincial counterparts to ensure that they are doing their jobs. The provinces are obviously doing a better job of wildlife conservation than the federal government.

Why does Bill C-5 not recognize the federal government's own shortcomings in this area? Rather, it adopts an arrogant attitude ensuring a dominating and coercive attitude toward the provinces. Each province and territory of Canada is different in regard to the species that inhabit their boundaries. This is why legislation protecting endangered species, such as Bill C-5, should encourage feedback and co-operation with the provinces.

Similarly, officials from the government of Saskatchewan expressed concerns in a number of areas covered in Bill C-5.

First, they are of the impression that it does not adequately allow for provinces to take an ecosystem approach. What is good for one species in the grasslands may not be good for another species inhabiting the same environment. Bill C-5 is fairly narrow-minded. It does not adequately allow for the provinces to take a diverse and open-minded perspective toward wildlife conservation.

Second, the government of Saskatchewan is worried that it does not have the adequate resources or the timeframe to meet all of the provincial requirements outlined in the bill.

Moreover, Bill C-5 is diverging from the spirit of the national accord for the protection of species at risk signed in 1996 by most provincial and territorial ministers responsible for wildlife and by the federal government. The accord lays out a variety of commitments to protect species at risk. By its terms, the governments recognize that intergovernmental co-operation is crucial to the conservation and protection of species at risk, that the governments must play a leadership role in complementary federal, provincial and territorial legislation, regulations, policies and programs.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations between the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That at the conclusion of today's debate on Private Members' Business item M-296, the question be deemed put, a recorded division demanded and deferred to the end of Government Orders on Tuesday, March 12, 2002.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for St. Albert have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.