Mr. Speaker, I was very impressed with the commitment the member for York South—Weston has to the preservation, protection and enhancement of our national parks which, as everyone in the House knows, are the most beautiful national parks that can be found anywhere in the world. He talked about responsibility and stewardship.
My party will be supporting the bill because we have to do whatever it takes.
The member, in his speech, talked about the government's commitment to the protection of our parks. He talked about the ecologically rare areas we have in Canada. I think every one of our parks can fit into that category.
I am wondering if the member for York South--Weston is aware of a very imminent threat that is about to occur and is, as we speak, already occurring on the west side of both the Banff and Jasper National Parks, which is the very large amassing of mountain pine beetles. They are continuing an easterly movement and will destroy every single mature pine tree in both of those parks if they are not arrested and dealt with.
This is important and I have to be critical of the government. This is a natural ecological disaster happening in the province of British Columbia. The reason that those beetles are there is that despite discovering the presence of the pine beetle back in the early nineties and numerous calls to the federal government from the province of B.C. to recognize this as a natural disaster, inasmuch as the ice storms in Ontario and Quebec and the floods in Manitoba, every request for assistance to mitigate and arrest the damage and progress of the mountain pine beetle has not been responded to by the federal government, to the point now that these bugs are on the western side of both Banff and Jasper National Parks.
I would ask the member whether the government is as committed as he says it is. After hearing the passion with which the member gave his presentation, I believe he is committed to doing everything he can, so I would ask him the following.
First, did he know about the presence of the mountain pine beetle and the damage they have caused and are causing on the western side of Jasper and Banff National Parks? If so, will he do everything he can to press the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Natural Resources to come immediately to the aid of the province to help mitigate the damage and stop the spread of the mountain pine beetle?
If we do not do that we will see a forest fire in the province of B.C. and in the westerly part of Alberta where those parks are, just as sure as we are speaking today, the magnitude of which we have never seen. This creates the most absolutely timber dry wood as an ultimate end that is ripe for a lightening strike. We could find both of those national parks in an imminent state of being ready for a fire disaster to hit.
Will the member please direct some efforts toward the ministers responsible to recognize the magnitude of the beetle infestation, the imminent danger and the damage that is already being caused to those two national parks?