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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was heritage.

Topics

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I was not going to follow up any more in the debate, but I am devastated that my colleague from Richmond Hill has not supported my riding.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

That was an interpretation.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

The member made a good point that we needed light. If we go to his riding in May, it can be quite dark. However, my riding has 24 hours of light. I would like people across Canada to know that. We get to see that beauty 24 hours a day. We have one of the most spectacular natural regions in the world, the Kluane National Park, which is a world heritage site. How many world heritage sites does the member have in his riding that are they are more beautiful than Kluane?

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be doing some fact checking to find out exactly how many. I know of at least two significant ones.

I have visited Kluane. Fortunately, it was during the time of 24 hours of light, and many Yukoners were out basking in the sun. I will be pushing for a great more number. Our riding is spectacular in its breathtaking beauty and deep history. I join the member in celebrating his world heritage site.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I will not be splitting my time.

It gives me great pleasure today to speak at second reading of Bill C-7, an act to amend the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act and to make related amendments to other acts. The bill would give legislative effect to the government reorganization that was announced on December 12, 2003, as it affects Parks Canada, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of the Environment.

Other hon. members have spoken to the specifics of the bill, of Parks Canada's national parks program and its celebration of our national heritage. I would like to take a moment to talk about Parks Canada's cultural heritage program, the national historic sites program.

Based on the national historic sites of Canada system plan 2000, Parks Canada will continue to mark the historic achievements of Canadians, in particular aboriginal peoples, women and ethnocultural communities. The goal of Parks Canada is to bring about 135 new designations of national historic significance within a five year window, including 55 designations specifically commemorating the history of aboriginal people, ethnocultural communities and women.

It should be understood that while the Minister of the Environment and Parks Canada are responsible for officially honouring the designated places or people, the actual choice of designations is made by the minister on the advice of the independent Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Any Canadian individual, group or government can make a formal submission to the board. That said, it takes time, effort and extensive know-how to learn about the process and to complete the requisite submission. The process is rigorous because Canadians expect any national historic recognition to have deep meaning and importance.

Parks Canada has launched major efforts in the past few years to ensure that more Canadians know how to initiate and complete submissions. A good example is the major outreach program to ethnocultural communities launched last year. The program consists of both information, meetings and user friendly educational material.

Parks Canada is going to communities and asking for their participation rather than waiting for communities to come to it. The agency's recent efforts have ensured that sufficient nominations have been submitted to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board to meet its overall goal of an average of 27 new designations. I know one in my riding, the site of the Klondike River first nation, is an excellent new site.

Parks Canada is confident that it will achieve its targeted goal of 11 new designations a year specifically related to the achievements of ethnocultural communities, women and aboriginal peoples. To achieve these three strategic designated priorities, women, aboriginals and ethnocultural communities identified in the system plan, Parks Canada will maintain its focus on partnership efforts with aboriginal people, building awareness of the commemoration program, expanding its work with ethnocultural communities and strengthening its planning related to the history of women.

The target for designations will be reviewed annually with the aim to ensure that historic achievements of Canadians of both genders and from all backgrounds are appropriately honoured by the nation. As it moves forward with the system plan, Parks Canada can take pride in the achievements to date in celebrating the history of aboriginal peoples through the commemoration of significant people, places and events.

Let us look at a number of these sites in more detail. The Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung national historic site, known as Manitou Mounds, is near Fort Frances, Ontario. Parks Canada's partnership with the Rainy River first nation will ensure that this site, an important aboriginal religious and ceremonial ground for 2,000 years, is conserved and presented to Canadians.

Chiefswood national historic site on the Six Nations Grand River Reserve in southwestern Ontario is the birthplace of famed poet and performer Pauline Johnson. Chiefswood is being developed as a museum by Six Nations Council in partnership with Parks Canada.

Pauline Johnson herself has been designated as a person of national historic significance. As a published poet myself, I can tell members that Pauline Johnson is one of my favourite poets. I recommend to anyone in this chamber or watching on TV who has not read Pauline Johnson's poetry to take a look at some very beautiful renditions.

Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia has also been commemorated as a national historic site of Canada, recognizing first nations use and occupation of lands.

The earliest inhabitants of Kejimkujik were Maritime Archaic Indians about 4,500 years ago. They were followed by the Nomadic Woodland Indians who set up seasonal campsites along Kejimkujik's rivers and lakeshores.

The Mi'kmaq, descendants of these people, have called this area home for the last 2,000 years. It is they who have produced the park's famous petroglyphs that represent the lifestyle, art and observations of the Mi'kmaq people in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The park is administered by Parks Canada for all Canadians but a Mi'kmaw network has been established to provide Parks Canada with advice on Kejimkujik from band members, elders and political and spiritual organizations.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump was designated a national historic site in 1968. It is one of the world's oldest, largest and best preserved buffalo jumps knows to exist. In 1981 it was designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump has been used continuously by aboriginal peoples of the plains for more than 5,500 years. It is known around the world as a remarkable testimony to pre-contact life.

As a world heritage site, the jump is among such other world attractions as the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge and the Galapagos Islands. Parks Canada is only one of a circle of friends that has provided support for a first nations owned national historic site in Saskatchewan.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park was created to be both a heritage park and a first nations' centre. Wanuskewin became a reality in June 1992, and hundreds of thousands of people have visited this model of cross-cultural partnerships since opening day. Over 14,000 school children participate in cultural and educational programs at Wanuskewin each year.

Batoche was declared a national historic site in 1923. Its commemoration initially focused on the armed conflict between the Canadian government and the Metis provisional government in 1885. Today, Batoche also commemorates the history of the Metis community of Batoche, home of the Metis culture and heritage. Surviving portions of the Carleton Trail and river-lot system, and the roles of first nations in the northwest rebellion and resistance, are also commemorated.

Administered by Parks Canada, the site benefits from a formerly established shared management board with the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan.

Among persons of national historic significance, we might mention Mokwina, not a single man, but several who held the name as a hereditary title given to the chiefs of the Moachaht First Nation confederacy in British Columbia.

[Member spoke in Gwich'in]

[English]

Nagwichoonjik national historic site is in the Northwest Territories. It covers that part of the Mackenzie River between Thunder River and Point Separation. It is of national significance due to its prominent position within the Gwichya Gwich'in cultural landscape.

The Gwich'in people, for anyone who may not know, are a people in northern Canada and Alaska. I think there are around 18 communities that are spread across Alaska and northern Yukon, specifically in the Yukon-Old Crow, and then into the Northwest Territories into places that we know as Arctic Red River, Inuvik and Fort Macpherson, et cetera.

These people depend primarily on the Porcupine caribou herd which migrates past all their villages. Canada has made tremendous efforts to ensure that their calving grounds in the 1002 area of the Arctic national wildlife refuge are protected and we will keep up that fight.

The Nagwichoonjik historic site on the Mackenzie River is of national historic significance due to its prominent position within the Gwichya Gwich'in cultural landscape. The Mackenzie River flows through Gwichya Gwich'in traditional homeland and is culturally, socially and spiritually significant to the people. The Gwichya Gwich'in people express the importance of the river through their oral histories, which trace important events from the beginning of the land to the present.

Gwichya Gwich'in history is told through names given along the river, stories associated with these areas and the experience drawn from these stories. The river acted as a transportation route allowing the Gwichya Gwich'in to gather in large numbers to dance, feast and play games during the summer.

Everyone is missing something if they have not been to a Gwich'in square dance. Sometimes each individual dance lasts over an hour with jigging and square dancing. These dances in celebration can go far into the night until four or five in the morning and then the people are up for work at eight in the morning. The good thing about these experiences is that all generations of people are enjoying these celebrations, from the children to the elders who are given great prominence, and everyone has a good time. No one has any bad feelings.

It is an asset of another culture that we must always remember, which is one of the reasons I have worked so hard to protect the Porcupine caribou herd. We are not just protecting the caribou herd, we are protecting a culture in this very diverse and complex world full of conflicts.

We need answers from all cultures to help us survive in this technological age. Therefore it is important to preserve all the cultures that are left today. Some are extinct but ones like these, which can provide such other avenues and methods to provide happiness and a way to live for their people, are well worth preserving.

Archaeological evidence supports the Gwichya Gwich'in oral histories concerning the importance of the Mackenzie River. Sites along the river show extensive precontact fisheries and stone quarries which have ensured the Gwichya Gwich'in survival through the centuries.

Canada's national historic sites are part of a larger family of special heritage places, which include national parks and national marine conservation areas. They stretch from coast to coast to coast, from the Arctic to the Great Lakes, and from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Together the national parks, the national historic sites and the national marine conservation areas tell the story of Canada with each one contributing its own unique story and sense of place and time. These special places have been set aside for the benefit of all Canadians. Protecting our heritage is a national enterprise and can only be achieved through collaborative relationships.

Just as aboriginal people help Parks Canada advance its mandate, Parks Canada endeavours to assist aboriginal communities. Bill C-7 is a good example of just such an initiative and I ask all members of the House to give speedy passage to Bill C-7.

A couple of members mentioned integrity in national parks and integrity in the environment. I cannot agree more that it is a very important aspect of national parks that will be well served by Parks Canada being in the Department of the Environment. I have certainly made that same point as have other members of the House. It is a very important point for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

As for where Parks Canada sits, that depends on the whole structure of government. To be flexible and not to incur the costs that were discussed before of going through this whole exercise again, the way the bill is written it would allow that, but it puts it in a place where I think all parties in the House agree at this time, within this structure of government, is where it should be.

Before I get to the results of some of the discussions earlier relating to the number of parks and protected areas, I should get to the costs. I definitely agree with the comments that there should be sufficient funding for parks for costs inside the scope of available resources to handle the various functions that Parks Canada provides for Canadians. This is a particularly difficult task at the present time because of the recent announcements made by the government concerning a number of new national parks and new national marine areas in Canada.

Those announcements have been celebrated by Canadians and by members of the House that these new national parks and new marine areas will be created, especially parks, to preserve some of the landscapes on the ocean floors that before this time did not have protection. It will also allow us to set aside areas particularly so that all the various species are at least in one place and protected as much as possible. Although erosion of species is a natural process, we need to mitigate as much as possible the man-made effects that exacerbate the diminishment of the number of species on earth. The new parks and marine areas are definitely helping to do that. They are great initiatives but, as members of the opposition say, we have to put adequate funding in those areas.

I am sure the environment committee, when it comes to the estimates, will be looking at those financial commitments to be available because that is where those items would be looked at.

Because I am talking about the heritage aspects of Parks Canada, which would also be transferred through the various attendant amendments in this bill with technical amendments to other acts, that the heritage benefits of these sites are a tremendous asset to my riding. I think there are few people in Canada who have not heard of the world's greatest gold rush in Dawson City. Parks Canada over the years has made tremendous investments to restore historical buildings. One of them, after the Parliament buildings, is the second most valued building in Canada because I believe it was done by the same architect. It brings tremendous knowledge of our history, the preservation of our history, and a lot of foreign currency because the vast majority of the tourists who come to Dawson City, as one area to see that history, would not be there if that history was not preserved.

In recent years there has been investment in a gold dredge. After the hand miners mined the creeks in Dawson during the original gold rush, the huge corporations came in with massive machines called dredges. It is somewhat amazing how they ever got them there without any roads or railways at the time. These huge dredges were part of the history, and recently Parks Canada, with army engineers, has raised one that was stuck in the mud and refurbished it all. It is a great tourist site. As these tourist sites allow Americans and visitors from Germany and other countries to stay longer in Canada and invest in our hospitality industry and learn more about Canada, I do not think anyone would dispute their value.

I fully support the legislation and hope that other people in the House do.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to participate in this debate and listen to the passion with which so many speakers today have expressed their interest in our natural heritage and culture.

The previous speaker obviously has demonstrated in words that in fact he has a great deal of interest in our aboriginal community, and the protection of their heritage and looking at various sites that he represents in Yukon. I am curious and would like to know from the member, what sites does he believe we ought to be looking at for future inclusion as part of the national parks system?

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to prejudge the board of experts that individually looks at the sites and makes a very careful evaluation before any site is added to the inventory in Canada. I am not an expert in this area and have not been through this rigorous analysis.

However, I can suggest some particular areas. First, a recent site that I have been talking about is on the Klondike River. The original name of the Klondike River was thorn duick , given by the original first nations, which means “hammering stakes in the ground”. This is right where Dawson City is located and where the gold rush took place. The first nations would hammer stakes in to trap the salmon. It was originally a salmon fishing site.

There have been some interesting recent discoveries in Yukon. I think this will be fascinating information for all Canadians. What was discovered only a couple of years ago is that up on the mountains there are certain patches of ice and snow that do not melt in the summer. Perhaps it is because of the darkness that my friend alluded to. However, the entire summer goes by and these small patches do not melt.

A person was up there walking around one day and saw all sorts of black goo. This black goo turned out to be caribou dung. However, it was not recent caribou dung. It was determined to be caribou dung that was older than any human establishments that have been found in North America.

On the north side of the hills the snow does not melt and the caribou would go onto the snow to get away from the bugs. Realizing this, ancient peoples would be hunting in these areas.

This person, who was walking through this area, began finding ancient artifacts. For the last few years people have been finding ancient artifacts. They have discovered a number of these sites. Perhaps I should not be saying this because everyone will go there now and I apologize to the archeologists.

Archeologists have found all sorts of artifacts that are redefining the discovery of North America, the migrations into North America and the types of tools that were used.

To me this would be a perfect example of a site of ancient aboriginal people in Canada. A number of aboriginal people have been hired to work on these sites to preserve them so that the rest of Canada could see how people lived.

Another item and probably all members of the House are aware of the famous frozen person that was found in the Alps. This has been reported in National Geographic . Another frozen person was discovered in northern B.C., very close to Yukon and it was a Yukon first nation. The discovery of that preserved first nations person from approximately 500 years ago is another tremendous archeological find which gives us evidence about our history.

In Canada we have Parks Canada to preserve these historic facts for study so that we can learn about our past. We can then share that with not only our children, but with people from around the world.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on the bill before us today. In my career and in the rest of my life it has been my good fortune to take a keen interest in the issues of conservation lands and parks.

This issue is close to my heart. I once was director general of the Union québécoise pour la conservation de la nature and I have taken part in coalitions to ask not only for better protection of natural spaces and ecosystems, but also the resources needed to truly protect them.

Long before that, as a student I worked in Forillon National Park. That was in 1982. I remember the dramas and tragi-comedies as the Quebec and Canadian governments each raced to create parks faster than the other, not to protect ecosystems, improve access to them or welcome visitors, but to get a foothold on Quebec territory.

I remember one employee meeting held in Forillon Park. The minister at the time, a Mr. André Ouellet, had come to address the employees, who had all left their tasks, and boast about how he stole the Mingan Archipelago from Quebec, where the Quebec government had been planning to put a park. He was as proud as a boy who has just played a great practical joke.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

An hon. member

As a peacock.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

As proud as a peacock, indeed; he was proud of himself. He never mentioned conservation. He never mentioned improving access. He never mentioned protecting the land for future generations. No, what he talked about was capturing those islands from Quebec, like the spoils of war.

If it had only happened one time, I could have said it was just once, but even at that, it was one time too many. And yet, in the case of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park , there was the same kind of friction. And for a long time, there were quarrels that delayed the creation of a Quebec park I am also familiar with, the Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie.

All these quarrels and, unfortunately, the entire history of Parks Canada are tainted in Quebec by expropriations of the people, as with Forillon Park with, unfortunately, the complicity of the Quebec government. There was a desire to create a park without people, despite the example of the town of Banff right in the middle of Banff National Park. Thus, Quebec has been the Parks Canada laboratory for testing centralization and testing interference, but certainly not a laboratory for testing investments and conservation for future generations.

The federal government did not think about environmental integrity. It did not think about what is now called migration corridors, the natural areas to be protected on the basis of the migration of animals, whether they are birds or mammals, which may find in one park or another a level of conservation that will maintain minimal level of viability. This is unfortunate. However, there was a time, before the Parks Canada Agency was created, when investments were made. Since this agency was created, the government has continued to create reserves and historic sites, but budgets are almost nonexistent and, in fact, shrinking.

Quebec employees of Parks Canada used to get some satisfaction. It must be said that it is Quebeckers, proud professionals who manage these parks, and we pay them with 25% of our taxes. These professionals were proud and happy of the work they were doing. I met with Parks Canada employees recently. They were less proud after several years within the Parks Canada Agency. They told me that there was an abusive tendency toward centralization in the agency; that budgets were allocated to research projects at the central level; that there was no money in the parks and historic sites; and that an extraordinary expertise was being lost in Quebec, both in interpretation and historical research.

This is quite serious. Indeed, in Parks Canada, Quebec's history is being told. Interpretation is done. Unfortunately, this interpretation is beginning to be done by people who do not belong to this culture, who do not live by this culture. They can then impose a certain interpretation of history on us. For example, they may choose between promoting fortifications following the conquest or ruins of the Montcalm redoubt, which is in my riding. So choices will be made. These choices may be made to the detriment of Quebec's heritage.

What I would like, of course, is for us to have our own country. Indeed, Quebec is loved for its cultural diversity, its people, its history and also its physical surroundings, including its mountains, rivers, flora and fauna. Quebeckers are extremely proud of their province.

I believe this comes from our origins. The love of the woods, the freedom our ancestors had when they arrived from France—where they had less freedom—is in our collective consciousness. It is this freedom of open spaces that Victor-Lévy Beaulieu described so well in most of his books and television productions: the big blue sky, the open spaces that make an impression on us and mark our lives and our collective spirit.

With this bill, what we are saying is that perhaps Parks Canada should be the responsibility of Environment Canada instead. Then maybe the federal government would realize that Parks Canada exists. Professionals from Quebec are trying to motivate them. If the parks were in the spotlight a little more, maybe there would be more money available.

It is a shame, but true that we are far from an integrated system of protected lands for which Quebeckers would set priorities, and harmonize and integrate everything in an ecological approach. Our country has overlaps and, unfortunately, in this area, the overlap help in the conservation of land or the species that live there. It is extremely unfortunate.

I would like to quote what I read on the Canadian Nature Federation site—which cannot to be accused of having separatist or sovereignist ideas—concerning the underlying problems cited by the current management of Parks Canada.

The number of parks has increased and worsening environmental problems are posing serious threats to the parks in the system. Yet the Parks Canada budget has not increased to meet these growing challenges. In fact, the government has not even reversed the cuts it made to Parks Canada in the early 1990s, when the agency lost 25 per cent of its annual budget.

The result is that Parks Canada has been unable to ensure basic health and safety standards for its crumbling infrastructure, let alone monitor and mitigate the threats to nature within the park system.

And I read on:

In 2000, the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada’s National Parks estimated the agency would need $328 million over 5 years to restore our national parks—none of that funding has materialized, despite the Canadian Heritage Minister’s commitment to implement all of the panel recommendations.

One has to wonder if the intention is really to erase Ms. Copps' legacy everywhere. She had planned the creation of parks and the related funding. Perhaps the former Liberal ministers will soon be included on the list of endangered species.

Seriously, the sad thing is that the federal government has a $9.1 billion surplus but it is not investing in the right places. It is ignoring the protection of places in Quebec, of its own parks. Making additions, creating park reserves or identifying future historic sites will not solve anything. It will simply encroach further on Quebec's territory.

This lack of funding is demotivating for the workers. Workers at La Mauricie Park have told me that they no longer issue tickets. They no longer patrol the back country. The undergrowth has become so thick that they have lost canoes, and backcountry campsites are no longer visited. Our parks are being neglected because of budget cuts.

By “our parks”, I mean those in Quebec. They may be designated as Park Canada property, but the fact remains that they are located in Quebec. The Quebec workers who used to be so proud of the conservation work they were involved in are now truly depressed by the lack of funding, the centralization within the agency and the loss of pride and trust.

I have seen these workers. I have visited many parks and worked in Quebec's network of parks. There were workers who were somewhat envious of the funding the federal government allocated to its parks, figuring that some of the money ought to be invested in theirs. The situation is reversed now: funds have started to be reinvested in Quebec's parks. I hope that, one day, we will have an integrated network in a country with all the necessary powers. I hope that we will be able to get the job done without having to resort to fighting or relying on the misplaced pride of ministers like André Ouellet and his successors. Real consideration must be given to the ecosystem, the environment and its preservation.

My riding of Beauport—Limoilou may not be as big or spread out as that of the Yukon or those in Abitibi and Northern Quebec or again those not situated in the Saguenay—St-Lawrence Marine Park. It is however a beautiful riding, which is part of Quebec City and host to federal infrastructures. People in my riding regularly go to the plains of Abraham—by day—they also like to take a stroll along the Dufferin boardwalk.

There is in my riding as well a historic site I would like to talk about for a while. It is the Cartier-Brébeuf Park. It is a disgrace. It is a national historic site. Jacques Cartier spent his second winter there in 1535. It is in a shameful state of repair for lack of money and interest on the part of the government, which would rather create new sites and encroach on provincial jurisdiction rather than look after the sites it already owns.

A replica of Jacques Cartier's ship the Grande Hermine , was allowed to rot in that park. It had to be demolished because it had become dangerous. There are now huge Frost fences across the small park because the sewer outfall under this historical site is collapsing. Big Frost fences were installed, criss-crossing the park, to protect people. This is the place where Jacques Cartier spent the winter in 1535. It is an important site. There is an interpretation centre there that looks more like an old garage. In the centre, there is an exhibition, which has not been updated since its creation. It is a real shame. The park is located near the St.Charles river in Quebec City. The city is trying to clean up the river and bring it back to its natural state.

Soon we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, and nothing indicates that money will be invested in the park. I must admit that my riding may not be the most beautiful, but it is not a reason to humiliate its residents by letting a site of such historical significance deteriorate to such a degree.

Now, I hope that this bill will not be only a structural and administrative change and that the government will not continue with this same philosophy of hoping that an agency will be profitable. It is really a somewhat absurd vision to try to make the conservation of nature and wildlife profitable and to try to have it be cost effective by itself.

There are sectors where the state must intervene, protect land and invest public funds. The government must stop selling the environment short or making it a tourism sector that is not even ecological. One of the problems raised by major environmental agencies is this way of marketing natural areas intensively without planning their conservation or without planning enough staff to ensure that it does not harm the areas and the sensitive ecological zones and to ensure to have enough equipment to welcome them.

I am a former environment worker, an environmental supporter and I am always an active participant. I worked at the Rivière Vivante foundation, an agency dedicated to the cleanup and naturalization of the St. Charles river, in my riding.

As an environmentalist and former director of the Union québécoise pour la conservation de la nature, of which the conservation of natural areas was an important priority, I must add that I became a little cynical with time about park management. I saw proud people become unmotivated. It is not pleasant to see people, at the end of successful careers as interpreters, historians, naturalists, finish it in disillusion and indigence. This is unfortunate. It is too bad for Canada's image. It is unfortunate that this image has been tarnished. In Quebec, we want to have a country, but we also want Canada to have its own and to stop neglecting its parks.

My love of the parks is nothing new. I especially love Forillon National Park. When I went there this summer, I noticed that the facilities were not properly maintained and in very bad shape. As a testimony of my love for the natural beauty of Quebec, and despite all the pains we had to go through to establish this park, to celebrate the year 2000, my in-laws, my friends and I all gathered at the tip of Cap Desrosiers, at the eastern tip of the Gaspe Peninsula, at 6 o'clock in the morning to see the sun rise over Quebec. It was magnificent, and very cold. We drank to the future of Quebec next to the magnificent lighthouse in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We hoped that one day the sun would rise over a country that was independent and proud to be so. My remarks are intended to show that the very essence of a nation often lies in the way its culture and spaces are protected and passed on from one generation to the next.

I wholeheartedly hope that the various levels of government and the federal government realize that the creation of parks is more than just cutting ribbons and scoring victories at the expense of the provinces. It is about preserving historical, natural and human sites for the next generations of Quebeckers.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I admit that I am in love with Quebec as a whole. I love Quebec's culture, the diversity of its inhabitants, but I am concerned about those who have gone to such lengths to encroach on Quebec's territory, abandoning Quebec and not doing the minimum required of them. I hope that funding will be allocated in the budget.

There are no ifs or buts about it; we will not oppose this bill. Perhaps it will enlighten the new minister on the natural spaces in Quebec and Canada. This is a minister who appears to have great designs for himself, no doubt, but also for the park network. Hopefully, adequate funding will follow. We will be watching. We will pass this bill and see whether it helps the Canadian government do a better job. Rest assured that, as members of the opposition and the Bloc Québécois, we will be watching.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the member on his speech. He made a number of excellent points that I would agree with. I have some questions on them, but to begin, I do want to go on record as taking issue with one point. First of all, of course, he said he hoped he could be where the sun rises over an independent country. I can assure members of Parliament that anywhere the sun rises in Canada it is over an independent and sovereign country. We will continue to make our decisions in Canada and in the world as a sovereign nation. We will make our own decisions.

The point I take issue with is the comment related to us paying money on our huge national debt so that we do not have to continue to pay interest. I am always disappointed to hear that the Bloc does not think Canada and the people of Quebec are strong enough and self-sufficient and resourceful enough so that we do not have to borrow money from other people. That is money that could go to children, to national parks and to health care.

I have always had the opinion that we are a rich country and a wealthy enough, resourceful enough and intelligent enough country that we do not have to borrow from others. We should be able to pay off that debt so we can continue to have the new parks that we have announced, so we can put more money into day care, as we are, more money into defence, more money into health care and more money into increasing the pensions of seniors. We can do that because we are not making interest payments.

The question I want to ask is related to an excellent point that the member made on migration: that if we are protecting a species we also need to protect where that species migrates. Just making a circle and putting a park there is not enough, because the species may move somewhere else. I think that is a very excellent point that the member made. I wonder if he could give us any examples of parks that have been designed in that manner, because we could use that as a leadership role. Has the Quebec government or any government in the world designed a park that would match the migration of a species? I think the member made an excellent point about that.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question. This is very important right now, as the creation of a park network is being considered. It is a good idea to take that into account, as well as considerations relating to private lands.

I was an assistant to the president of the Fondation de la faune du Québec. This organization asked urban populations to create, in their backyards, gardens to attract birds, using fruit trees for instance to allow migrating species to stop over on their way to truly protected areas. Such protected areas were managed at the municipal level or at the provincial level—by Quebec, in our case—or were located in federal parks.

This needs to be well understood. This too is new. It is the kind of thing that organizations like the Union québécoise pour la conservation de la nature and the World Wide Fund For Nature stand up for, pursuant to the principles set out by the World Conservation Union.

The Quebec park network currently has that concern in mind. However, until now, the notion of conservation was not really viewed in these terms. These concerns are taken into consideration in the studies to create new parks and new areas. We try to determine who will be the winners and, eventually, who will be the losers in the creation of these parks, or in the awarding of related supply contracts. All these issues impact on the protection of species.

It is unfortunate that municipal governments, which come under Quebec's jurisdiction, do not speak at the level of the Quebec government when it comes to the creation of natural areas. It is unfortunate that park networks are suffering, as are other sectors in Quebec, from this duplication. It will be extremely difficult to think about conservation on the basis of the protection of species and ecosystems, and of sustainable use.

Quebec areas cannot all be fully protected. We do not live in a huge garden. People have to live in these areas. However, when we protect natural areas, we ensure that species living there can migrate and be protected during that process. This is what new tendencies in the conservation of protected areas are suggesting.

Then there is the issue of sustainable development and the hon. member will agree that this also applies to people. If we do not invest in national parks or in historic places, which are, more often than not, located in the regions—and I am speaking euphemistically here—we will not have many seasonal workers or naturalists. We will not have many people who work enough hours to qualify for employment insurance benefits. These people then leave their region to settle in the city. They are not so proud of their region, because the government did not invest in it.

Unless I am mistaken, the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is still not a national park, after all these years. I am referring to the famous Mingan Islands that were taken away from Quebec. However, the government never lived up to its commitment in terms of investment. Local people, who must make a living with two months of tourism at best, were disappointed. Up there, it is very cold in June and September, and there is often fog in August. So, the situation is really not ideal for these people.

Parks are tools of economic development, pride and human development. That is not taken into consideration by an agency that is centralizing, that is broke and that does not really fulfill its mandate.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou for his fine speech. I would like him to expand on his answer to the hon. member for Yukon, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, who seemed to say in his remarks that the government should reduce its debt, and things of that sort.

The member for Beauport—Limoilou has delivered a simple message. He is telling the federal government to start looking after the facilities it has, to stop creating new parks and start maintaining the ones it already possesses.

In my riding of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, I have a fine example. You know, as I do, Mr. Speaker, about the Carillon Canal, which was a historic concept of a canal for the transportation of wood. You come from a family that did business up and down the Ottawa River and used the canal system from Carillon to Grenville. There was one on the Ontario side as well, used for forestry. A vestige of this design remains, the Carillon Canal. Believe it or not, the latest report by the Auditor General contains a photograph of the Carillon Canal, showing the state of disrepair in which the Government of Canada has left it.

And what has been done since the Auditor General submitted her report last year? Rather than repairing the canal, they buried it. Incredible! A geotextile was laid down; the canal was filled in; and more than $200,000 was spent, with the remark, “Someday when we have the money, we will take all this away and be able to repair the canal”.

That is what things are like in the regions, because all this Liberal government wants is to have new things, put up new flags, but never take care of the facilities it already has.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, the comments by my colleague make a lot of sense. They say they want to reduce the debt. Rather, they do not say so, they just change policy as they go. That is to say, they announce a little surplus and then say it is too late to put it toward the debt, but there is no debating it. They say that a given amount cannot go toward the debt, but do they have to always do the calculations wrong, come up with a huge surplus, and then put that toward the debt without debate?

They talk of reducing the debt for the sake of our children, but perhaps our children need to have endangered areas and species protected for their sake as well. This is also part of what we will be handing down to them. What they inherit is not only monetary; there is also a physical heritage. The member is absolutely right to raise this issue.

This morning, I was listening to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Johanne Gélinas, a woman of much vigour and much rigour. I came to know her when she was commissioner of Quebec's environmental public hearings office. Her report covered strategic policy assessments, assessments of progress. Was there any assessment when Parks Canada became an agency? Were the consequences of the budget cuts assessed? Was there any assessment of the impact on this and future generations? No there was not. The answer is no. No assessment, for instance, of the consequences of tax cuts for oil and gas companies, who really do not need them and are amassing huge profits because of the use of hydrocarbons. No assessment of the environmental consequences of subsidies to polluting industries. Was this assessed? No it was not. In this case, the Minister of Finance even adds insult to injury by saying that he will not do so and will not consider the commissioner's recommendations. She says such a reaction is virtually without precedent.

So, when it comes to making fundamental changes without any assessment, I have seen instances in the micromanagement of parks of people doing things first and then assessing them afterwards, which is not the way it is done.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very much enjoying following the debate. The questions that were asked of the last speaker are very important even though the bill is not directly related to some of the concerns and issues that members have raised.

I must admit that I was trying to put together a communication for the constituents of my riding about the 12 or 13 bills that have been tabled in this place by the government. I want to let them know what the issues are before the House and to give them an opportunity to receive further information or maybe ask some questions about the bills.

When I got to Bill C-7, an act to amend the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act and to make related amendments to other acts, I had some difficulty writing very much about the bill itself. There are no major policy changes and there are no additional funding requirements related to Bill C-7. Quite frankly, I have not heard of a lot of problems with the technical bill that is before us. I am pretty sure this matter will go forward.

What is extremely important is that the bill has given us an opportunity to reflect on our national parks and historic sites. We tend to take them for granted. We have heard from other members that there are some concerns about the investment made even to the point where the last speaker raised some concern about having surpluses which ultimately are dedicated to paying down debt and there is no money left over to invest in our parks which are calling for some assistance.

Canadians who have had an opportunity to visit some of our national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas feel a deep sense of pride at the rich history we have. A fundamental part of being Canadian is to participate in the great outdoors in Canada. I know the Minister of Agriculture will agree as he is a great outdoorsman himself.

I do not want to comment on the bill itself. Members have adequately put forward the matters relating to the technical amendments. However, I want to talk briefly about the Parks Canada story.

Canada's national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas represent what many call the soul of Canada. They are central to who we are and what we are. They are places of great wonder and heritage. Each tells its own story and together they connect Canadians to their roots, to each other, and to the future. This is extremely important because, as members from the Bloc have said, this is an integral part of what Canada is. It is inseparable.

As a Canadian, I own a little piece of each and every square inch of all of Canada, including Quebec, and everyone in Quebec owns a little piece of every other part of Canada. It is a very important linkage that we should make. It is a common bond of association, a binding element among all Canadians.

What we cherish as part of our national identity we also recognize as part of our national responsibility. All Canadians share the obligation to preserve and protect Canada's unique cultural and natural heritage. Together we hold our national parks, our national historic sites and our national marine conservation areas in trust for the benefit of this generation and future generations.

Canada has the distinction of having the first national parks service in the world. Over the decades our national parks system has grown to 41 national parks and reserves, preserving for future generations almost 265,000 square kilometres of land and waters and there are plans to add 100,000 square kilometres through the creation of eight more national parks. This legacy is possible in large part because the provincial and territorial governments, aboriginal people and local communities have worked with us to create many of these new national parks.

The creation and management of our national parks is a delicate balance between protection of ecologically significant areas of importance to wildlife and meeting economic and social needs of communities.

The Government of Canada is committed to working with the aboriginal people, local communities and other Canadians and stakeholders to protect our precious natural heritage through the creation of new national parks and national marine conservation areas.

In October 2002, the government announced an action plan to substantially complete Canada's system of national parks by creating ten new parks over the next five years. This is great news for Canadians. This will expand the system by almost 50%, with the total area spanning nearly the size of Newfoundland and Labrador.In fact, we have already created two of those ten new national parks, with work continuing on eight other proposals. Five new national marine conservation areas will also be created.

Canada is blessed with exceptional marine treasures. My daughter is in marine biology. She is an ecological engineer right now and has had an opportunity to travel all across Canada and experience so many places; I think a lifetime is too short to see and enjoy all that these protected lands and waters have to offer us.

The action plan calls on Parks Canada to work with all of its partners, the provinces and territories, aboriginal and rural communities, industry, environmental groups and others, to complete this effort. It is a good news story and it is an important point to make even in the debate of a bill as benign as Bill C-7.

In March 2003 the government allocated $144 million over five years and $29 million annually thereafter toward this effort. The action plan has already produced two new parks. The new Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada protects 33,000 square kilometres of ecologically rare land in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. At over 20,000 square kilometres, the new Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada protects virtually an entire watershed close to the Arctic circle in Nunavut. I have had an opportunity to visit Whitehorse and other areas, but I have not been to Nunavut and I hope that one day my family and I will be able to visit that area.

Negotiations to establish the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve in Northern Labrador are also nearing completion. This long-standing proposal will protect some of the highest mountains in North America east of the Canadian Rockies.

In March 2004, the premier of Manitoba and the former minister of the environment signed a memorandum of agreement identifying the boundaries for public consultation for a national park in the Manitoba Lowlands. They also committed to negotiating a national park establishment agreement by May 2005.

Both parks will make significant and magnificent additions to our world class parks system.

The government is also working with partners to establish five new national marine conservation areas, adding an estimated 15,000 square kilometres to the system. This will be a major step forward in global conservation of marine habitat. Canada has the world's longest coastline and 7% of its fresh water. This commitment to creating new marine conservation areas is consistent with the recent Speech from the Throne in which our government made a commitment to create new marine protected areas as part of the ocean action plan.

These national marine conservation areas will be located in ecologically unrepresented marine regions. Four sites have also been identified, including the Gwaii Haanas off British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, Western Lake Superior, British Columbia's Southern Strait of Georgia, and the waters off Îles-de-la-Madeleine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While a site for the remaining national marine conservation area has yet to be finalized, Parks Canada has received a number of proposals from local communities, a testament to the growing interest in the conservation of our marine heritage.

In addition, the government will accelerate its actions over the next five years to improve the ecological integrity of Canada's 41 existing national parks. This will implement the action plan arising from the panel on the ecological integrity of Canada's national parks, whose report was endorsed by the government in April 2000.

These two initiatives, the action plan to expand our system of national parks and national marine conservation areas, and the action plan on ecological integrity, are the most ambitious initiatives to expand and protect national parks and national marine conservation areas in over 100 years, indeed, since Banff National Park of Canada, Canada's first, was established in 1885.

Parks Canada needs to get on with the job Parliament has assigned to it and I am sure we are going to have the support for Bill C-7 to enact these changes, these technical amendments.

The last reference I made is something that concerns me quite a bit. I want to use a little of my remaining time to make mention of it. It has to do with Banff, our first park, established in 1885. I have had an opportunity to go to Banff, to drive slowly, to visit Lake Louise, and to see the beauty of the Banff area and do some hiking, both in good weather and in bad weather, a little of each.

However, over the years one of the things I have noticed is that a tremendous amount of construction has been going on in the areas that lead into Banff. There has been so much that the dust, the rubble, the dirt and the disruption of the area are probably evident even to those who have no idea what the ecological concerns might be and what the impacts would be on wildlife.

I used to work for Trans-Canada Pipelines. I was the director of finance and was involved in a number of things, including the proposed Mackenzie Valley-Delta pipeline project, which ultimately, under the Thomas Berger commission, was shelved for some 10 years. A lot of that had to do with the impacts on the environment, on the flora, the fauna and the migration patterns. At that time, those who were responsible for the development were very sensitive to the impacts on the environment, on plant, animal and other species. I did not see it in Banff. I did not see that same kind of discipline.

The member from the Bloc spoke about the national park in Quebec and talked about some fenced off area where there is a sewer going underneath there and it is not well kept, i.e., it is not remediated to the point where we could have a park which all could enjoy. Something is wrong in terms of the discipline; I do not know what it is. It is not in the bill, but it has to be within our commitment to continuing to develop our conservation areas, our national parks, our wildlife preserves and our marine conservation areas.

In Banff there is now what is virtually a superhighway and a parallel highway in case there is a problem. There are now bridges over the highway, which are meant for the animals to use to migrate from one side of the highway to the other. I understand they do not work as well as they should, but at least there is a possibility for wildlife to migrate.

Now we hear that Banff development has been so saturated it has almost become a place where we need to have money to be there. It is not a place for ordinary Canadians and their families and kids. The houses there are enormous. The development there is enormous. It is hard to believe that this is good. There is wildlife walking through the streets in the evenings. We go there and suddenly there is wildlife; the deer walk through the streets in the evening light and nibble away at the trees. The reason is that we have encroached terribly on the natural habitat of wildlife because it is Banff and because beautiful Lake Louise is there. My goodness, anybody who has seen it knows how pristine and how beautiful it is. The hiking there is terrific and people can do a little horseback riding or simply walk some of the trails.

However, now things are at the point where those in charge have decided that perhaps they have to stop development, perhaps they cannot have any more people sell their homes and that kind of thing. I think the Banff experience should be a beacon to all parliamentarians. It says that if we do not watch carefully, sometimes we drift away from the reason why things were done in the first place.

I suspect if we ever went back and looked at the documents about why we should have national parks and why we should make one the Banff National Park, the underpinnings would be so that our parks would reflect Canada: the majesty, the soul, the peace and the naturalness of a country.

Yet now it has become so commercial. I do not know whether there is a report card on Banff, but I would think that a report card since the park was established in 1885 probably would not be a good report card. I think something has happened.

If that is the case, then I think the example the Bloc member raised has to be looked at in terms of the standards and the underpinning reliance that we place on those in charge to ensure that national parks and the marine reserves and the wildlife reserves, et cetera, are protected and allowed to flourish in the most natural state possible, giving us the opportunity to enjoy them but in a way that does not encroach on the natural activity within those areas.

Therefore, I think Bill C-7 is important not just for the technical amendments, which others have laid out for the House so I will not repeat them; Bill C-7 gives effect to order in council decisions that have been made in the past so it is housecleaning. It would have been very easy to come in here and say that Bill C-7 looks okay to me because it is doing what we have already done, or just noting in the legislation what has been done and how we changed the responsibility from one department to another so let us deal with it all in one stage in the House.

I guess we could do that, but I think it is important that members at least take the opportunity to realize that this is an opportunity to talk about something that is extremely important to all Canadians, not only today's Canadians but future generations. These are the jewels of our country from sea to sea to sea.

When we compare ourselves to other countries, we see that even a country such as Taiwan has more national parks than Canada. This is hard to believe, but there is a tremendous discipline in terms of combining the people's activities with the existence of national parks.

I am pleased that members have raised some of these issues about the condition of our national parks. Perhaps we should look to find out when things deteriorated. Perhaps we should ask who was responsible, what questions were asked, what monitoring was done, and what jurisdiction was involved. Where could members of Parliament be involved so that to the extent possible we can do our part to make sure we preserve these important sites for generations to come?

I appreciate the opportunity to comment briefly on Bill C-7. This is about all I would care to say on Bill C-7, but I am very pleased to have the opportunity to share a few of my thoughts and views on what I believe is one of the most important binding matters in Canada, and that is the preservation of our heritage properties, our national parks, our wildlife preserves and our marine conservation areas.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the House on the occasion of the second reading of Bill C-7.

On December 12, 2003 control and supervision of the Parks Canada agency was transferred from the Minister of Canadian Heritage to the Minister of the Environment. The transfer was given effect through an order in council.

On July 20, 2004 a further order in council came into effect relating to the responsibilities for built heritage. It was required in order to clarify the earlier order in council. First, control and supervision of the historic places policy group were transferred from the Department of Canadian Heritage to Parks Canada. Second, the powers, duties and functions related to the design and implementation of programs that have built heritage as their primary subject matter were transferred from the Ministry of Canadian Heritage to the Ministry of the Environment.

Bill C-7 updates legislation to reflect these changes. It deals with the machinery of the government and does not contain any substantive policy provisions. It simply gives legislative effect to the government reorganization that was announced on December 12, 2003 as it affects Parks Canada.

In addition to amending the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act, Bill C-7 also amends statutes through which Parks Canada delivers its mandate. They would be the Canada National Parks Act, the Historic Sites and Monuments Act, the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act, the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Act, the Species at Risk Act and the Canada Shipping Act.

There are no additional funding requirements related to Bill C-7.

Parks Canada's organizational integrity has been maintained. The agency remains committed to working with Canadians to protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations.

I would like to take a few moments to talk about the Parks Canada story. Canada's national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas represent the soul of Canada. They are a central part of who we are and what we are. They are places of magic, wonder and heritage, and each tells its own story. Together they connect Canadians to our roots, our future and to each other.

What we cherish as part of our national identity we also recognize as part of our national responsibility. All Canadians share the obligation to preserve and protect Canada's unique cultural and natural heritage. Together we hold our national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas in trust for the benefit of this generation and future generations.

Canada has the distinction of having established the first national parks service in the world. Over the decades our system of national parks has grown to 41 national parks and reserves, preserving for future generations almost 265,000 thousand square kilometres of lands and waters. There are plans to add, as has been mentioned earlier, an additional 100,000 square kilometres through the creation of eight more national parks. This legacy is possible in large part because provincial and territorial governments, aboriginal people and local communities have worked with us to create many of these new national parks.

The creation and management of national parks is a delicate balance between the protection of ecologically significant areas of importance to wildlife and meeting economic and social needs of communities. The Government of Canada is committed to working with aboriginal people, local communities and other Canadians and stakeholders to protect our precious natural heritage through the creation of new national parks and national marine conservation areas.

In October 2002 the government announced an action plan to substantially complete Canada's system of national parks by creating 10 new parks over the next five years. This will expand the system by almost 50% with a total area spanning nearly the size of Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, we have already created two of these 10 new national parks with work continuing on the eight other proposals. Five new national marine conservation areas will also be created.

Canada is blessed with exceptional natural treasures and we owe it to Canadians and to the world to protect these lands and waters. The action plan calls on Parks Canada to work with all of its partners, the provinces and territories, aboriginal and rural communities, industry and environmental groups and others to complete this effort.

In March 2003 the government allocated $144 million over five years and $29 million annually thereafter toward this effort. The action plan has already produced two new national parks.

The new Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada protects 33 square kilometres of ecologically rare land in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

At over 20,000 square kilometres, the new Ukkusiksalik National Park protects virtually an entire watershed close to the Arctic Circle in Nunavut. This park is a product of an agreement between the Government of Canada and the Inuit of Nunavut, forged over several decades of hard work all focused on protecting land, waters, caribou and polar bears for present and future generations.

Specific sites for more national parks have been selected in other natural regions across Canada: the southern Okanagan; lower Similkameen in the interior of British Columbia; Labrador's Torngat Mountains and Mealy Mountains; Manitoba's lowlands boreal forest; Bathurst Island in Nunavut; and the east arm of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Sites for the two remaining national parks are being identified by Parks Canada.

Negotiations to establish the Torngat Mountains national park reserve in northern Labrador are nearing completion. This longstanding proposal will protect some of the highest mountains in North America east of the Canadian Rockies.

In March 2004 the premier of Manitoba and the former minister of the environment signed a memorandum of agreement identifying the boundaries for public consultation for a national park in the Manitoba lowlands. They also committed to negotiating a national park establishment agreement by May 2005. Both parks will make magnificent additions to our world-class national parks system.

The government is also working with partners to establish five new national marine conservation areas adding an estimated 15,000 square kilometres to the system. This will be a major step forward for global conservation of marine habitat.

Canada has the world's longest coastline and 7% of its fresh water. This commitment to creating new marine conservation areas is consistent with the recent Speech from the Throne in which our government made a commitment to create new marine protected areas as part of the ocean action plan.

These natural marine conservation areas will be located in ecologically unrepresented marine regions. Four sites have been identified: Gwaii Haanas off British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands; western Lake Superior; British Columbia's southern Strait of Georgia; and the waters off Îles-de-la-Madeleine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

While a site for the remaining national marine conservation area has yet to be finalized, Parks Canada has received a number of proposals from local communities. This is a testament to the growing interest in the conservation of our marine heritage.

In addition the government will accelerate its actions over the next five years to improve the ecological integrity of Canada's 41 existing national parks. This will implement the action plan arising from the panel on the ecological integrity of Canada's national parks, whose report was endorsed by the government in April 2000.

These two initiatives, the action plan to expand our system of national parks and national marine conservation areas and the action plan on ecological integrity, are the most ambitious initiatives to expand and protect national parks and national marine conservation areas in over 100 years; indeed since the Banff National Park of Canada, Canada's first, was established in 1885.

Parks Canada needs to get on with the job Parliament has assigned to it. I urge members of the House to give speedy passage to Bill C-7.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the member in his eloquent dissertation talked about the marine protected areas. I would like him to elaborate on the items that will be protected in those marine protected areas, which is a new concept that has been asked for by environmentalists for some time.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul MacKlin Liberal Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate that the hon. member brought forward that point. It really has been of interest to those who are interested in the marine area that certain species and habitat be protected for certain elements of our marine heritage. Clearly this has been done.

The new marine sites are being set forth and are soon to be added to our list of conservation areas. It is extremely important that the matter be attended to as quickly as possible, and that we have full and complete contact with all of the communities of interest and the stakeholders. We must make sure when we designate a marine conservation area that it truly reflects the special interest of that particular area of our marine water system.

Export Development CanadaGovernment Orders

October 26th, 2004 / 2 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to table the report of the Auditor General of Canada on the implementation of the Environmental Review Directive and other environmental review processes at Export Development Canada.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(g) this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Dunc SchooleyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House of Commons to honour Mr. Dunc Schooley who passed away at 93 on October 10.

Born in Ridgeway, Ontario, Dunc was one of six children. He was an accomplished baseball pitcher who was respected by his teammates and opponents alike as the skinny southpaw with the sneaky curveball. Pitching for the Merritton Senior “A” ball team, he struck out 19 batters in one game. He could have had fame and fortune in the majors. Dunc remained in Merritton where he and his late wife, Eileen, raised their family and made a tremendous contribution to the community.

Dunc Schooley was a charter member and past president of the Merritton Lions Club, past master of the Adanac Masonic Lodge, a volunteer fireman, and past president of the Red Cross. He created a learn to swim program free to all participants and he was the driving force behind the Dunc Schooley Swimming Pool. Dunc lived by the adage, “Leave the place a little better than you found it”. His community is a much better place today because of his devotion and hard work.

I extend heartfelt condolences to Dunc's brother Will, his children Arthur, John, Joanne and Marylynn, his nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

CurlingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of the CBC is to promote and enhance Canadian culture. The sport of curling is very much a part of Canada's cultural heritage.

CBC, with the help of government subsidies, has managed to displace TSN from covering national curling events, namely the men's Brier and the Scott Tournament of Hearts. Curling fans across Canada will be most disappointed when they discover that CBC will be reducing the coverage of these events by 66%. Most Canadians will no longer be able to enjoy watching the evening or morning curling draws.

Let us review what has been accomplished here. Through Liberal government subsidies, the CBC has managed to squeeze out a quality private sector broadcaster. CBC, with the help of the Liberal government, is betraying its mandate while Canadians are being shortchanged on their access to a major Canadian cultural event.

The Liberal government and the CBC should be ashamed of themselves.

TerrorismStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I add my voice to the many objecting to the comments made by Mr. Mohamed Elmasry in a recent broadcast and interview.

Mr. Elmasry acknowledged that he was invited to participate in the broadcast in his capacity as a representative of the Canadian Islamic Congress. His remarks did not bring honour to that organization. His comments about out of uniform Israeli military personnel, indeed all Israelis over 18, being legitimate targets at bus stops crosses a line that does harm to many: the Israelis, the Palestinians themselves, and the Muslim and Jewish communities in Canada.

Suicide bombers who target Israeli military personnel and civilians at bus stops must not only be stopped, but as well must never ever be legitimized as a solution to the conflict. Canadians do not condone the promotion of terrorism or the killing of innocent people. I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Elmasry unequivocally withdraw his harmful statements and apologize to all in Canada.

Canadian Council for International Co-operationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, a coalition of more than a hundred voluntary sector organizations working to end global poverty, has just presented five policy papers that review Canada's international policy.

Knowing that the aid granted by Canada to developing countries has been considerably reduced and that we are only half way to the aid target percentage; that nearly half the world's population lives on less than $3 a day; that a third of all deaths in the world—50,000 deaths a day—are from poverty-related causes; and that poverty is a major obstacle to security, we have no choice but to support the work of these agencies that fight for social justice.

The Bloc Québécois commends the members of the coalition and assures them of its support.

Foster Family WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw the hon. members' attention to an evening of recognition that was held for Foster Family Week.

It was organized by Outaouais youth centres, represented by Pierre Deschamps, and the Outaouais Foster Family Association, represented by its president, Micheline Charlebois.

The evening had two purposes: first to recognize some 400 foster families that open their homes and hearts to young people in difficulty; and second, to present the premiere of a joint theatrical production by the foster parents and the youth centres staff.

Every year, Outaouais youth centres, directed by Gilles Clavel, provide a wide range of standard, consistent, high-quality social services to more than 2,000 young people.

The constituents of Hull—Aylmer are proud to be able to count on the generosity of foster families and the support of Outaouais youth centres. Foster families are an integral part of the Outaouais community and we appreciate them very much.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post's job is to deliver the mail, but the Liberals have abused the company for the benefit of their friends and donors.

André Ouellet's $2 million in unreceipted expenses has cost taxpayers big bucks. The special hiring of friends and family, some unqualified or unable to do the job, has cost even more. Liberal friendly firms were awarded over $35 million in sole source contracts.

However, Mr. Ouellet was not the only Liberal crony at Canada Post. We now find out that Liberal donor Gilles Champagne also racked up considerable bills on his world tours. When will we see his receipts?

The Prime Minister told us he was going to end cronyism, yet weeks ago he broke his promise and appointed yet another crony, the revenue minister's former colleague, Gordon Feeney, as chair of Canada Post.

Cronyism costs Canadians. This is an outrage that must stop now.