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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was langley.

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Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Madam Speaker, it looks like I may have the last word in this throne speech debate. I have been married for 30 years and I am not really used to that.

Since this is my maiden speech in this distinguished House, let me take this opportunity to thank the constituents of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission for the honour they have bestowed on me to represent them in this 38th Parliament. I am keenly aware that I serve at their pleasure.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the team of volunteers and donors who assisted with my campaign. I would like to think that I was elected because of my sparkling personality, but probably not. We have all come to realize that politics is a team game and I would not be here without their support.

I would like to thank my family, my wife Ruth, my children, Mark, Melanie and Adam and their spouses, who have been with me on this journey. I appreciate their support and encouragement. I thank my parents, Peter and Evelyn Kamp, who have modelled for me that success in life is about giving, not getting. I appreciate that.

Finally, let me thank the previous member of Parliament, Grant McNally, who served us well at considerable personal sacrifice and with whom I had the privilege of working for seven years. It is clear that he was well liked by members from both sides of the House, so I will have big shoes to fill. In fact I think some of his colleagues are afraid that I will not adequately take his place, especially the group that meets regularly at D'arcy McGee's. That fear I think is probably justified.

In my opinion, the riding of Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission is the most beautiful riding in Canada. Some may differ with that, but if people had grown up there, as I did, or even visited there, I think they would come to agree.

It is the hometown of Larry Walker, probably the best right fielder in baseball. It is nestled between the north side of the Fraser River, which used to have fish in it, and the spectacular Golden Ears Mountains. There people will find three growing communities, microcosms really of our country, vigorous business communities co-existing alongside rural areas with farms that still produce and ditches that still croak.

Time is short so let me go directly to the throne speech.

Sometimes it is good to read the last page of a book before starting at the beginning to see how it turns out. If people do that with this speech, here is what they will find. If people go to the last page, they will find the claim that the government's agenda is based on a comprehensive strategy to do three things: one, to build a prosperous and sustainable 21st century economy for Canada; two, to strengthen the country's social foundations; and three, to secure for Canada a place of pride and influence in the world.

I wish I had time to comment on each of these three because they are all important.

Regarding the first, I think fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility is probably the most important task we have. Regarding the third, it is also a very important subject and I think some of us will have an opportunity to speak to that tomorrow. Because time is really short, let me focus on the second.

According to the government's claim, it has a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the country's social foundations. This of course should be of great importance to us all because history has shown us that it is impossible to build a prosperous, influential country without strong social foundations.

What does the speech reveal to us about the government's comprehensive agenda? There is a large section on health, and I will not speak too much about that. It is more a band-aid than a fix for a generation. I do not know if it will solve the personnel problems. We need doctors and nurses.

The speech also mentions in a single sentence the government's commitment to improving home and community care to safe and affordable drugs. There are some first steps in that area, but nowhere near the promises made during the election campaign.

Of course there is that promise that we have heard again and again for a national system for child care and early childhood training. I find it perplexing that the same government that claims to care so much about children cannot seem to produce loophole-free legislation which protects our children from child pornography.

Let me comment briefly in closing on what I did not find. Some of us have been chagrined to realize that our election makes us politicians.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 6:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question to dispose of the motion now before the House. I regret having to interrupt the hon. member.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find there is agreement in the House to unanimously adopt the motion for the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne as amended.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to adopt the motion?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion, as amended, carried.

(Motion, as amended, agreed to)

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That the Address be engrossed and presented to Her Excellency the Governor General by the Speaker.

(Motion agreed to)

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has completed its proceedings. Is there agreement to proceed with the debate on the adjournment motion?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago in the House I asked the Prime Minister a question which, at that time, was answered by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. I asked why the Prime Minister had turned his back--

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl has the floor and it is impossible to hear with all the conversations going on in the chamber. I would invite hon. members who are carrying on discussions in the House to conduct those in the lobby. The hon. member for St. John's South--Mount Pearl now has the floor.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, I asked the Prime Minister why he had gone back on his commitment to deal with the overfishing issue off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap.

During the election, the Prime Minister made a commitment to deal with the overfishing “even if it meant taking custodial management”. When I asked why he and the government had done nothing since, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans replied, “Our process that we are using is working. We have had 130 boardings this year. There are fewer boats out there and we are finding fewer discrepancies”.

The average person might buy that, and even statistics to a point at this time of the year might prove that statement true, but overall it is not the case.

If we go back just a couple of months before the election, the same minister was up telling us that we had increased our activity out there, that we had put out more patrols, that we had done more boarding and found more blatant abuses and that we had to do something about it.

The Liberals cannot have it both ways. They have already admitted that they found more abuses. If there are fewer abuses it has only been recently, since the election, and I will tell the House why. First, they are looking for an excuse to back off on the commitment. Second, this time of the year the allocated quotas have been caught. Most of the boats have returned to their own nations or have gone fishing somewhere else. In the case of the Spanish and Portuguese, they are off the coasts of Australia, Africa, or wherever because they travel the world using vacuum cleaners to scoop up everything that swims in the ocean.

The minister is not being factual when he states that this problem is correcting itself. It is not. It is the time of year when we would expect less activity in this area and, consequently, fewer abuses. The problem is that the government has done absolutely nothing to deal with this serious situation.

The parliamentary secretary, undoubtedly, will be answering for the minister who should be answering for himself, who in turn answers for the Prime Minister who should be answering because he was the one who committed to deal with the issue. The parliamentary secretary will tell us that they have had so many boardings with fewer abuses. As I say, statistics can be used any way one wants to use them, and, in this case, all he is doing is taking the time of year when there is less activity and consequently fewer abuses to rules and regulations.

However the issue has not been corrected. The only way to deal with this is for the government to take a strong stand in making sure that the rules and regulations are adhered to, that the quotas allocated by NAFO are fished but not overfished and that species under moratoria are protected. This can be done in two ways: by the government doing it itself, or by showing some leadership within the international organizations to get others to work with us for that benefit.

I look forward with interest to the parliamentary secretary's answer.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:20 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to address the concerns raised by the hon. member for St. John's South--Mount Pearl.

At the centre of this evening's debate is the member's concern with overfishing in international waters off the Atlantic Ocean and outside Canada's 200 mile limit, specifically as it affects the conservation and rebuilding of straddling fish stocks on the Grand Banks.

Let me state clearly that I share the concerns of the hon. member. Let me state also that the minister shares his concerns. Let me state also that the Prime Minister shares his concerns. All Canadians share the member's concerns regarding this issue.

We recognize that overfishing is destroying fish stocks around the world, threatening the health of ocean ecosystems and damaging the economies of coastal communities right around the world. That is precisely why the Government of Canada took important steps this year to put an end to illegal fishing practices in the high seas starting with the Grand Banks.

This war has been fought on a number of fronts. We enhanced at sea surveillance and strengthened our inspection and enforcement measures. We increased diplomatic efforts. We began looking at ways to address the problem in a more permanent way through governance changes.

I submit that these efforts are reaping results. We are seeing real and significant progress in curbing illegal fishing activities in this area. I know the hon. member for St. John's South--Pearl Harbour does not agree with that but the statistics do not support his submission whatsoever.

Expanding patrol presence and vessel boardings on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks was a key first step to the strategy. About 150 vessel boardings have taken place in the last five and a half months and seven citations have been issued by Canadian inspectors. Now there is a significant decrease in the number of foreign groundfish vessels fishing in the Grand Banks. Vessels have moved to other waters.

Our goal of ending overfishing is being achieved, although we are not there yet. I agree with the hon. member that we have many miles to travel but we have certainly accomplished a lot over the last short period of time.

The message is clear to vessel owners and crews: overfishing will not be tolerated by Canada. We must remain vigilant. We will continue to exercise enforcement measures as permitted by international law because they have proven to be successful.

I want to reiterate the actions taken by our Prime Minister on this whole issue. He certainly has made this a major priority by his actions. I believe every time he gets on a plane and the plane is headed across the Atlantic Ocean, this is the number one concern on his mind.

He has addressed the United Nations on this very issue. He has met with the president of France. He has met with the president of Spain. He has met with the president of Portugal. He has met with the president of Russia. This has been the first item at all these meetings. He has put tremendous pressure on everyone. I believe we are going to see further efforts besides the United Nations at other international fora such as the G-8.

These diplomatic efforts are achieving results. Spain, for example, is showing a real willingness to work with Canada to end illegal fishing practices.

A lot of work has been done. We are making significant real progress. Our approach is working.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, fishermen on the east coast of Canada who know what is happening are having the biggest laugh of their lives. This has to have been the biggest joke they have heard in quite a while, to say that the government is putting an end to illegal fishing. Just before the election, a couple of extra boats were sent out and the government held a press conference to tell people that it was going to take care of this problem.

I do agree that there are not as many boats out there today as there were. The only reason the boats are gone is that the quotas have been capped and the boats are now fishing somewhere else. They will be back again in the spring. People know that is true.

He also said that the Prime Minister has been running around the world dealing with the issue. That is foolishness. The Prime Minister has mentioned two or three times that we have a problem with overfishing. He can talk about it all he wants, but we want to see some substantive government action. When the Prime Minister convenes a conference of these people, when the Minister of Fisheries convenes an international conference then--

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member's time has expired, so we go back to the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I disagree totally with the assertion just made by the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl. There have been tremendous efforts and I will repeat some of them.

There is the substantial presence of the at sea monitoring; the substantial increase in air surveillance of the whole Grand Banks area; the signing by Canada of the United Nations law of the sea last November; the signing by the European Union of the United Nations convention on highly migratory and straddling stocks; the diplomatic efforts; the address to the United Nations; and the list goes on and on. The hon. member knows full well that results are being achieved. The number of incidents of foreign overfishing has decreased significantly over the last year and that level of decreases will continue to happen.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplyAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 6:32 p.m. this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:32 p.m.)