That is correct. It was under Robert Bourassa's Liberal government that Quebec passed that bill.
What did the federal government do 13 years later? It passed Bill C-5. Some of my colleagues here in the House voted for it. I will not name their ridings, but some of them were once ministers in the Quebec government. They agreed to a federal statute overlapping and duplicating legislation passed in Quebec in 1990.
Today we do not need a bill which, through the Criminal Code, will give more power to the federal government to regulate the sale of wildlife. Why? Not because we do not want the sale of wildlife to be regulated, but because Quebec, in some respects, has been proactive and already has distinctive legislation in this regard.
I can understand that some provinces have not been as proactive in this matter. But when a province has been proactive, it must be understood that the Criminal Code is a powerful tool, a powerful instrument for imposing measures on some provinces, among other things, for the sale of wildlife.
Depending on the infraction, under sections 165, 167 and 172 of An Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife, there can be fines ranging from $500 to $16,400, prison terms of up to one year, and administrative penalties that could result in permits being suspended for up to six years.
Clearly, with the Act respecting the conservation and development of wildlife, Quebec is not simply banning the sale of wildlife, and that is made clear in section 69 that I just quoted. The act also provides for penalties, fines, prison terms and administrative penalities, to ensure that for the sale of wildlife, this is not just some obscure principle, but a principle that is strictly enforced when certain individuals decide to break the law.
In Quebec, there is a law with this objective. We fear that the federal government is interfering—as if it were not interfering enough—in an area of provincial jurisdiction. This is not necessary. This should be left up to the provinces.
Essentially, the bill's purpose is inconsistent with what the federal government has always said; the government opposite has always preached full partnership with the provinces in terms of enforcing environmental legislation, be it the Environmental Protection Act, the Species at Risk Act, or the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
When it comes to practising what you preach, however, the opposite happens. Take the example of the sub-agreement on environmental assessment or even the Canada-wide Accord on Environmental Harmonization. There are partnership principles, but why did Quebec not sign this accord?
When we consider legislation from the House, we realize that Bill C-280 contains essentially the same things as Bill C-5. This is unacceptable. The principles in the agreements must be reflected within bills from the House of Commons.
When we see that Bill C-280 on the sale of wildlife seeks to duplicate, to make it a crime, under the Criminal Code, to sell wildlife, when provisions already exist at the provincial level, we are led to question the wishes, not only of the federal government, but of this Parliament, since this motion and this bill were introduced by the opposition.
As we can see, it is not just the federal government proposing provisions which would duplicate existing legislation. On this side of the House, there are also members and political parties that share this vision of Canadian nation building.
If Quebec had not done its homework in this regard, I could almost understand the desire of the federal government to step in. Quebec was the first to adopt legislation on endangered species, and that was in 1990. It has taken the federal government an additional 13 years to adopt similar legislation. The difference is also noticeable when we look at our legislation on environmental assessment.
I will conclude by saying that we cannot accept a bill which, through the Criminal Code, would give more power to the federal government, when the work is already being done in Quebec and things work fine. We are not interested in setting aside the existing system.