Mr. Speaker, I too would like to thank and congratulate the member for the very effective manner in which he has brought the concerns with respect to this bill through the committee process to the House.
The member will recall that we heard testimony from witnesses from the Justice Department who indicated that a minimum fine might in fact go opposite to the impact we wish to achieve. A minimum fine was to make it very clear to polluters that they were going to be dealt with in a very punitive manner.
The theory went this way. A minimum fine of $500,000 for those ships over 5,000 tonnes might in fact be seen by the court to be overly punitive and might persuade the court not to deal with the intent of the maximum fine, such that the very opposite might be the case. Judges might be more convinced that because of the nature and magnitude of the fine, they might not apply that regime to those who allegedly had polluted the sea.
Does the member feel that this point of view had any validity? From his perspective, how would that amendment be even more effective in achieving the intent of the bill, which is to deal very effectively with those people who are polluting at sea?