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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fish.

Topics

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have one question to pose to the member. I had the opportunity to travel with the finance committee when the prebudget debate and consultations were going on. I discovered that most of the people who came to the hearings came asking for more and more. Very few came with any idea as to how to manage the finances a little better. I did not hear anybody present any ideas along those lines, ideas for the government to pursue as far as creating a fairer tax regime for Canadians is concerned.

It seems to me that the government has responded to that. It has listened to everybody and has tried to appease everybody, but it has not come up with an overall plan as to how this budget will further Canadians in the long run and establish Canada as a unique country with very definite ideas on where it wants to be in 10 years. I think what happened through the consultation was that all those requests for more money came in, the government indicated it had more and it sprinkled some money out to a lot of different areas. But I see nothing that points to a strategy of making it a better and more unique country 10 years down the road. I would like the member to comment on or defend what I see as the wrong approach in this budget.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we live in a highly pluralistic society I am sure that there are Canadians from various interest groups who feel we should have a policy that is directed to freeing enterprise and having less government intervention in the economy. We have people at that extreme, but we have people at the other extreme, people who feel that there should be a highly interventionist relationship between their government and the financial institutions and the various interests throughout the country.

Then there are the people in the middle, who feel that perhaps we should try to invest strategically in a manner that adds value and multiplies that value added through the various sectors such as housing, transportation, pharmaceuticals and biomedical technology, which creates that confidence that Canada is moving ahead in creating a quality of life that is inclusive, with equitable treatment.

Mr. Speaker, you're damned when you do and you're damned when you don't in trying to take all those interests and meet them halfway by saying yes, the government cannot do everything, but this is what we can do. We can invest together in terms of this particular sector and that sector. We can build housing in this way. We can recognize that we can create capital, but we must use it in a very prudent manner.

For those who come more or less in the middle of all that and are not highly interventionist but simply will not leave people vulnerable, this budget represents that kind of approach. One can be critical of it, but when we hear what those in the international community say about the prudent stewardship of the fiscal foundation of Canada, they cannot be all wrong.

Moving ahead in the centre, carefully, prudently, wisely and caringly, is reflective of this budget. I personally support that particular treatment of people and groups.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for York South—Weston talked about who the government listened to in this budget. I want to tell the member that it is pretty obvious who it did not listen to.

It certainly did not listen to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has condemned the budget. It has said that the budget is totally unacceptable when it comes to responding to the needs of Canada's cities. The government certainly did not listen to the chair of the big city caucus, Glen Murray, the mayor of Winnipeg. How did he describe the budget? He said it was a joke in its response to the needs of big cities.

Who else did the government not listen to? It did not listen to its own colleague from York West, the chair of the Liberal urban task force. The member for York West has said the budget falls far short of what is acceptable.

The government did not listen to the eloquent pleas of Stephen Lewis, who pointed out that Canada's contribution to the global fund for Africa has fallen far short of what is acceptable. Our commitment should be $150 million. We put in $50 million.

I want to ask the hon. member why, instead of putting money into gains for the wealthy, into eliminating the capital tax and increasing RRSP limits for the wealthy, the government did not listen to Canadians. Why did it not listen to cities like Burnaby and elsewhere and put far more resources into child care and into infrastructure for cities?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to explain that I spent 12 years on the board of directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. One of our colleagues was the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. I had an opportunity to talk to the president very briefly when he was here and he was very optimistic with respect to what the budget would hold.

In 1977, when we had our Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual meeting in Winnipeg, I believe there were about 350 members and we had no federal representatives coming to that particular meeting. It was the same at subsequent meetings for a number of years. The FCM has become a model for municipal co-operation and in fact is recognized by the government in terms of the green fund that is administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

When I was on the board, we could only dream of working toward those kinds of programs. This budget increases that. I think that is far from being a joke. People who characterize it that way obviously do not have the history to know that we have been working consistently to increase the role.

The member talked about Stephen Lewis and Africa. We can do more in Africa, but the Prime Minister is recognized as having taken on the Africa agenda. We have made a commitment to increase our commitments under our aid programs in Africa, so I do not see that any apologies are required there.

Finally, with respect to day care and working with respect to our housing interests for more vulnerable people, as I said, we have not finished the job, but in this budget one can find commitments where we have listened to those communities, and we will continue to work with them.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Brampton Centre Ontario

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. My colleague across the way mentioned that municipalities are not happy, but the fact of the matter is that $14 billion has been given to the municipalities in the last nine years.

Some newspapers complained that GTA members are not effective. Also, we have people complaining on this side that GTA members are very effective in the Toronto area. I wonder if the hon. member can comment on these two conflicting points of view, because some people say we are very effective and the opposition says we are not very effective.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, you may think that perhaps I am a little too close to provide an objective answer to the question, but having chaired the caucus, I think that the members of the GTA have consistently raised concerns with respect to transportation and congestion issues.

In both the infrastructure program and the strategic infrastructure program, $2 billion was announced that is yet to be expended. Proposals are being received from the municipalities. With respect to the $3 billion over a 10 year period that is announced in the budget as an infrastructure down payment, the opportunity is there for the members to work with municipal governments in the GTA, for example, and right across the country, to prove their effectiveness by working together on sustainable development and housing issues. The people will be the judge of what we have accomplished when they see the quality of life that we all will enjoy in this country.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in debate on the budget that just came down not long ago. I will also be splitting my time with the member for Selkirk—Interlake.

If I were to characterize this budget compared to any previous budget the government has brought down, I would say that this one is by far the worst budget the government has ever produced.

At a time when taxpayers are building up a massive surplus for the government, the government rather imprudently has decided, instead of paying down the debt, lowering taxes, or eliminating waste, to go on an incredible massive spending spree the likes of which we have not seen in this place since I have been here.

Not only did the government blow the surplus for this year, but it will blow it for next year, the year after, and the year after that. We are very disappointed on this side that the government has been that irresponsible with taxpayers' money.

I wanted to mention that in light of the hon. member for York South—Weston who just spoke. He spoke about how the government was making a commitment to transparency, accountability and eliminating waste.

What did the government do? Did it eliminate any waste in the budget? Did it announce any waste that it is eliminating? No. It drove spending through the roof. The government did not announce one dollar in reductions in wasteful spending, even though we all know that there are billions of dollars of waste in that government.

Let us look at the firearms registry. This is a program that was over budget by 50,000%. I know that sounds incredible and I invite people to do the math. It was supposed to cost $2 million. It will come in around a billion dollars at least. Now we are talking about the firearms registry going even higher than that. We are very discouraged with how the government treats taxpayers' dollars.

Since 1997 the government has driven spending 45% higher. It is rather obvious that the spenders on the Liberal side have taken control and they are going crazy with taxpayers' money. At the same time we still bear a debt of $536 billion. We spend about 21% of every tax dollar to pay the interest on the debt. We have many concerns with the budget.

When the hon. member talks about transparency I am concerned about the fact that the government did nothing to address the issue of trusts and private foundations. These are agencies and different bodies that the government has set up outside of the normal accounting practices of government, so that in effect it can hide surpluses and keep these bodies away from the prying eyes of the Auditor General and parliamentarians who want to bring scrutiny to this use of taxpayers' money.

The government talks about transparency and accountability on one hand, however, on the other hand it does nothing about it. It flouts the Auditor General. The government goes ahead and continues those sorts of practices.

Another thing the government has done, and again the Auditor General has been extraordinarily critical of the government on this count, relates to the child benefit. Instead of booking it as an expense which it clearly is, and not a little one because we are talking about almost $10 billion, the government books it as a tax cut. This is unbelievable.

This is not a situation where people are allowed to keep their own money. In some cases people are not paying any income tax and still receive the child benefit. It cannot be called a tax cut. The Auditor General and just about everybody who follows these things has been extraordinarily critical of the government on that count.

The government talks about transparency and accountability. What does the government do? It ignores recommendations from people such as the Auditor General and go merrily along and continue to book these things as tax cuts, when in fact they are undoubtedly a huge expenditure. On those counts we are critical.

I want to say a few words about a policy area that is of my particular interest as the critic for human resources development for the Canadian Alliance. It is something that the member for York South--Weston just spoke about a minute ago. I want to speak about child care.

I have a couple of boys, and my wife and I over the years have tried many forms of child care. When we were first married we had our oldest son in day care for a period of time. After that we had our boys staying in one case with a neighbour across the alley. She looked after our youngest boy for a long time. Our oldest boy at one time went to a friend a couple of blocks away. Of course, for a number of years my wife made the choice to stay home and look after the children herself. We have done it all. We know a little about child care from personal experience.

I do not understand why the government places absolutely no value in parental personal values and the choices that they want to make with respect to child care.

The government brought in a billion dollar program in the budget to funnel people in to its chosen form of child care, which is regulated day care. In others words, if persons choose day care they will get a tax break, but if they choose some other form of child care, like looking after children themselves or taking them to grandma or to a neighbour, they are out of luck. For some reason the government does not value the idea of choice in child care. It wants to ram everybody into its particular form of child care.

The Canadian Alliance opposes that. We say that what should happen is that all parents with children should get a child care deduction. In the 2000 election we proposed a $3,000 deduction for all families with children under the age of 16. That would mean they could take that money and use if for whatever they want. Maybe that would allow one spouse in the relationship to stay at home with the child now that they have that big tax break, or they could take that money and purchase day care with it, or they could take that money and use it to pay the neighbour across the alley to look after their children.

The government has decided that there is one way and one way only to look after children, and that is to force them into regulated day care. That is wrong.

Why does the government not respect the ability of parents to make those decisions? Why does it discriminate against single income families, people who make the decision to stay at home? Why does it force people who would make a different choice to pay taxes so that the government can then take that money and channel it into one form of child care, which is regulated day care? Some people may make that choice. I do not care. It is up to them, but let us not discriminate against people who make a different choice.

I do not know how many times in the last Parliament, when this became a big issue, we received e-mails and letters from people who said that they were sick and tired of seeing the government discriminate against a particular form of child care. Overwhelmingly this was people who were single income families, people who decided to have either mom or dad stay at home and look after the children or in some cases it was to have grandma across the way look after the children.

I am hugely critical of the government when it comes to that particular issue. I do not understand why the minister, who has never provided an explanation, has taken this hard core, uncompromising stance against single income families who make other choices. It is completely and utterly wrong.

The budget has made a number of mistakes and I have pointed to many them. We hope that the government will come to its senses and not spend away the entire surplus, not only for this year but years to come. We hope that the government will start to recognize the expertise of individual parents who know much better how to care for their own children than the hon. Minister of Human Resources Development.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Oak Ridges Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is a deduction for parents with children aged seven years and under. If they do not send them to day care they already get a tax benefit. The member failed to mention that.

The member talked about uncontrolled spending. I have pointed out many times in the House that, in fact, that is a fallacy. It is around 12% and it was 16% in the early 1990s.

One of the things that the Alliance members keep saying, when I mention that the debt to GDP ratio has gone from 71.5% down to 44.5%, is that it is smoke and mirrors. They say that the debt has gone up. I would like them to table the documents to prove that because in 1997 the debt was $552.5 billion and it is now $507.7 billion. I would like them to provide that information.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, what we are asking for is equality when it comes to child care. We want everyone to be treated equally. The hon. member cannot say that the government does that because, in fact, it does not. It favours a particular form of child care.

When it comes to the debt there are two important facts. First, 21¢ of every tax dollar still goes to pay the interest on the debt. Second, the debt did go up under the Liberal government. It is higher today than it was when the government came to power in 1993. It was about $500 billion when the government came to power. Today it is $536 billion.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

It being 6.15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the amendment now before the House.

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

All those in favour of the amendment will please say yea.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

All those opposed will please say nay.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the amendment lost.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I understand that today in the foyer the member for Mississauga Centre made the comment, “Damned Americans, I hate those bastards”. I have Americans as family. I demand a retraction and an apology in the House right now.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member is well aware that the Speaker has jurisdiction over statements in the House, but not those made outside this House. I do not propose to engage in the matter. The hon. member has made his point. I believe that is the end of the matter so far as the House is concerned.

Pursuant to order made on Monday, February 24, 2003, the House shall now resolve itself into committee of the whole to consider Government Business No. 14. Accordingly, I do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of the whole.

(House in committee of the whole on Government Business No. 14, Ms. Bakopanos in the chair)

FisheriesGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That this Committee take note of the fisheries.

FisheriesGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Madam Chairman, as Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, I appreciate the opportunity to rise in the House this evening to discuss Canada's fisheries. Indeed, there are a number of fishery issues of great importance to Canadian communities. I would like to touch on a few of them today.

I would like to begin, if I may, with the helpful support my department received last week concerning the federal budget. I would like to thank my colleague, the hon. Minister of Finance, for developing this budget which combines continued fiscal prudence with a mixture of strategic expenditures that will make an important contribution to Canada's economic and social prosperity.

My department received a number of pieces of good news in the budget. Take the Canadian Coast Guard for instance. I am sure all members of the House recognize the important role played by the Canadian Coast Guard, a key Canadian institution and an important and highly respected cornerstone of my department.

Last week's budget also recognized this important role and announced that the Canadian Coast Guard would be receiving $94.6 million over two years. This funding will be invested in the Canadian Coast Guard's fleet and shore based infrastructure and will help the Coast Guard plan for the recapitalization of its fleet and shore based infrastructure.

As a result of the budget, we are planning our activities based on a permanent infusion of $47.3 million annually. This is in addition to January's announcement that $37.5 million would be invested in my department for marine security. This funding will allow the Canadian Coast Guard to implement an automatic identification system, with the long range vessel identification and tracking capability.

It will allow our conservation and protection program to expand its surveillance program, which means more air patrols on both coasts, inside and outside Canada's 200 mile limit.

Last week's budget also provided $12 million over two years to be invested in a soon-to-be-announced programming initiative, which will enhance the ability of the aboriginal communities to participate in the decision-making and management process for Canada's fisheries and other areas related to DFO's mandate.

Over the next five years, we are planning our activities based on a permanent annual infusion of funds. The Government of Canada is also allocating $33 million over two years to implement the Species at Risk Act. DFO will be working with other departments on the distribution of this funding, which is in addition to the $180 million announced in the 2000 budget.

As this initiative moves forward, my department will be expected to play an important role. As you know, the budget announcement also asked all departments to contribute to a federal goal of reallocating a total of $1 billion from existing programs starting this fiscal year.

My department is committed to doing its share and has undertaken a comprehensive departmental assessment and alignment project, in coordination with Treasury Board Secretariat, to help us establish program priorities and necessary realignments to contribute to this government-wide goal. Indeed, last week's budget will go a long way towards helping us serve Canadians in future.

I would like to turn now to a few specific issues that have been raised here in the House recently and that I am sure hon. members of the opposition would like addressed.

Perhaps the best example right now is the situation we are facing with certain Atlantic cod stocks, particularly northern cod, and the stocks of the northern and southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. I know how important these stocks are to coastal communities throughout Atlantic Canada, in particular to Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec.

While I am still waiting for the scientific advice to come in before I make a final decision next month, I think it is fair to say that the situation so far is not very promising. Research shows that these stocks have not recovered since the moratoria of the 1990s. While we have drastically reduced catch levels, these stocks have not responded and remain at very low levels.

When I announced the management plan last spring, I made it clear that if we did not see any more positive signs in the health of these stocks, some difficult decisions would have to be made.

However, before a decision is taken next month, we need to put together the best possible information on these stocks. That is why my officials are currently working hard to gather and analyze all information.

In fact, last week I met with the Atlantic fisheries minister to discuss an economic analysis that was undertaken by my department and our provincial counterparts to determine the extent of communities' dependence on this resource.

Indeed, while the number of fishers who still rely on cod is a fraction of what it used to be, we need to remember that any decision will have a direct impact on their livelihoods and their communities. While the number of jobs might not be what they once were for those people, they are the most important jobs in the world.

DFO scientists, as well as scientists and technical experts from industry and other organizations and countries, are currently involved in a peer review of all available scientific information.

The formal stock status reports will be made available next week at which time the FRCC will commence its consultations with the goal of having its report to me by March 21. This may sound like a long process but it is essential that we gather the most detailed information possible before making a final decision.

As minister, my responsibility on this issue is clear: to conserve Canada's fisheries and ensure that future generations are able to benefit from them. That, above all else, will guide my decision.

In addition, I am working closely with a number of colleagues on this issue to ensure that we have examined all the options at our disposal in preparation for whatever the final decision must be.

Snow crabs are another issue of concern. As you know, crab has been one of the engines of prosperity for the Atlantic fishery over the last several years.

In fact, snow crab landings in Atlantic Canada were valued at nearly $400 million in 2001. But there are now serious concerns about snow crab in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. People who know crab know that these stocks are naturally variable and cyclical. Snow crab populations have periods of abundance, followed by periods of decline.

With this in mind, DFO has been monitoring the status of these stocks for several years. As anticipated, there appears to be a decline in the commercial biomass for these stocks, due to poor recruitment and early maturation.

There is a real likelihood that some crab quotas will need to be reduced in certain areas. My department is now working closely with industry to examine ways to minimize the impacts to fishers who rely on snow crab. Stakeholders must be prepared to accept greater sharing of the resource.

As I indicated, snow crab is very valuable to the industry. Wise and prudent management is needed so that we can rebuild certain crab stocks for the future and protect these stocks for future generations.

On the west coast there are also some emerging issues. One example is the sockeye salmon which is currently the subject of a comprehensive review. I expect to receiving the steering committee's report shortly and I will be considering its recommendations in the time ahead.

Examples like these remind us of the importance of working toward a self-reliant, stable and, above all, conservation based fishery. They also remind us of the importance of working together to make it happen.

Clearly Canada's fisheries are facing a number of challenges in the times ahead. However, as we work together to find ways to deal with these challenges, we cannot lose sight of the fact that there are a number of success stories in the fishery as well.

For instance, last year Canada's fish and seafood exports reached a new record value of $4.2 billion, and all indications are that we are headed for another record this year. In fact, Canada is the fifth largest exporter of fish and seafood products in the world, with leading companies in value added production, marketing, harvesting, and the world's best fishers and plant workers.

That is why I can say with confidence that, despite a number of key challenges in the fishery, we are on the right track. I remain committed to working with people throughout the industry to meet these challenges and to keep Canada's fisheries strong and sustainable in the years ahead.

FisheriesGovernment Orders

7 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Madam Chairman, there are three issues that the minister raised that I would like to address. The first is the issue of the west coast sockeye.

Last year on the Fraser River there was a return of 15 million sockeye but there were 12 million allowed to spawn. That means that there were seven to eight million fish that should have been caught but were not, a cost to the British Columbia economy of about $200 million. I would like to know why.

The second issue is on the coast guard. The budget for the coast guard since it joined with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been cut by almost $100 million a year, $500 million since the merger. The small pittance of $96 million that has been added in the budget, when applied to the Pacific region when the Pacific region gets it cut, will not come close to supplying the hovercraft that is needed or to reinstating the marine communications and traffic services to its appropriate level. I would like to know why the budget cuts, why the stripping of the coast guard, especially in these times when there should be additional moneys spent to protect Canada's sovereignty and safety on our shores.

The third issue is on the east coast cod stocks. For years the FRCC has been giving advice to the government about catch numbers. The government listened to that but when the FRCC talked about seals the government did nothing. For years the FRCC has said that there should be a harvest of seals, not just to provide jobs but to protect the cod stocks, yet nothing was done along that line.

The government ignored FRCC's advice on seismic and ignored its advice on improving the enforcement of the department as well. I would like to know why, on that issue, the government has done nothing.

FisheriesGovernment Orders

7 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Madam Chairman, the question of west coast sockeye has been of great concern to me. I was quite active on the file last year.

The member will know, although he does not point it out, that we have had considerable problem with that stock in the last five years. The stock has had a huge pre-spawn mortality of 95%. It is also mixed with other species.

This year we are pleased that we had bigger returns than we have had in a long time, more than forecast, healthier fish and a very low pre-spawn mortality. That is a good sign for the future. We wish we could have harvested more. We are doing a comprehensive review right now to get the mechanism in place so we can do effective and timely management of resources like that.

However we also must remember that other salmon stock which are mixed into that are in a precarious state and are of concern. We must see to the viability of those stocks.

As for the coast guard, a substantial amount of money was given to the coast guard along with the full accrual accounting system that gives us a lot more purchasing power than we had under current year accounting rules. We will work with Treasury Board to see how much more we can do but I can say that we will be able to do substantial recapitalization. I do not expect the critic for the NDP to understand financial matters.

As for the cuts to the coast guard, there were no cuts to the coast guard since it was amalgamated with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. There were some cuts when it was still at transport. When it came back to fisheries I believe $45 million was put back into the budget.

On the issue of cod stocks, I understand the member's frustration. It has been raised to me throughout Atlantic Canada, particularly on the matter of seals. However I think the member is wrong when he says that I have not done anything and have not listened.

I have been minister for one year. Last year in the seal management plan I used a flexible approach. It is the first year in which we reached the quota. I even let it go over. We harvested over 300,000 seals last year. I introduced a three year management plan of 975,000 seals. It will mean a reduction for the first time in the herd. I also agreed with the FRCC that we had to look at the question of exclusion zones, the question of areas where predators might be risking the long term survival of those stocks. We are going forward with those things.

If people look at my record in one year at the department, I honestly think I have taken some serious initiatives.