This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Chief Electoral OfficerRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the final printed version of the report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 38th general election held on June 28, 2004.

This report is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

House of CommonsRoutine Proceedings

December 14th, 2004 / 10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

I also have the honour to lay upon the table the report on the strategic outlook for the 38th Parliament of the House of Commons administration.

Aboriginal AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Western Arctic Northwest Territories

Liberal

Ethel Blondin-Andrew LiberalMinister of State (Northern Development)

Mr. Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2001-02 annual report of the Yukon Land Claims and Self-government Agreements; the 2002-03 annual report of the Nisga'a Final Agreement; and the 2003 annual report on the state of Inuit culture in society in the Nunavut settlement area.

Order in Council AppointmentsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Canada—U.S.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a number of order in council appointments recently made by the government.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Canada—U.S.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 14 petitions.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting the third report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, regarding changes to the standing orders respecting the mandate of the committee.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great interest that I am tabling this petition signed by 1,202 Quebeckers from throughout Quebec.

The petition's message to Canada is that Canada's full or partial involvement in the United States missile defence plan would go against our interests and values.

This petition is more evidence that the people of Quebec are against the missile defence shield. I want to remind hon. members that according to a CRIC poll conducted on November 4, 65% of Quebeckers and 52% of Canadians are against this bill.

Here is hoping that the government will hear the message in this petition and realize that it must say no to the missile defence project.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Denise Poirier-Rivard Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by 1,300 people. This petition is calling for an amendment to the sentence of second degree murder for crimes involving spousal abuse.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Canada—U.S.)

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know that other hon. members also want to table petitions.

The petition I want to table calls on Parliament to take the necessary measures to amend protection of information provisions in the Statistics Act in order to allow public access to the 1906 census records.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table a large number of petitions. I think we now have received over 12,000 petitions lobbying against the taxation of aboriginal post-secondary funding.

I think it is well known to the House that the Canada Revenue Agency has announced that beginning in 2005 aboriginal post-secondary students' support funding would be treated as income, including tuition, book allowance, living allowance, scholarships, bursaries and travel dollars.

We have a disgrace in this country in terms of the limited access there has been to post-secondary education. We are talking about the poorest families in this country who desperately need the education that should be available to them. They do not need this new barrier to stand in the way.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition that is very straightforward. It calls upon the House of Commons to oppose the candidacy of Mr. Francisco Flores Perez for secretary general of the Organization of American States.

Canada is a member nation of the Organization of American States. Many concerns have been expressed about the inappropriateness and unacceptability of Mr. Perez being considered for secretary general. This is heartfelt by many Canadians who have taken the opportunity to sign a petition asking us to support their opposition to this appointment.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. With your permission I would seek unanimous consent to revert to presenting interparliamentary reports. I was late getting into the House and I was hoping I could do that today.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to revert to presenting reports from interparliamentary delegations?

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 31, I have the honour, on behalf of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group, to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports.

The first is a report on the Canadian delegation to the agricultural tour for U.S. congressional staffers held in Calgary, Alberta, from September 21 to 23, 2004.

The second is a report of the Canadian delegation to the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce Atlantica Prosperity meeting held in Bangor, Maine, from September 30 to October 1, 2004.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The chair has received a notice of motion pursuant to Standing Order 52 from the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, under Standing Order 52, I wish to request that an emergency debate be held this evening regarding the absolutely disastrous situation facing the textile industry.

In support of my request, I would remind the Chair that, yesterday, 800 workers from the municipality of Huntingdon, in the riding of Beauharnois—Salaberry, that is 75% of the work force in this municipality, learned that they were losing their jobs on a permanent basis, either immediately or in the spring.

Thousands of jobs are currently at stake in Quebec, and the impact is very great. I will simply remind the House that there are 600 such jobs in Trois-Rivières, 600 more in Drummondville and another 800 yesterday in Huntingdon. Quebec is experiencing an economic crisis, as is the rest of Canada. Altogether, the number of jobs located in Canada is about 75,000.

So, I ask for agreement of the House to hold this emergency debate. Before we permanently and prematurely adjourn for the holidays, I believe it is important for members of this House to take a few hours to debate, with the government, the thousands of jobs that have been lost, as well as all those that will be lost shortly.

This is an extremely urgent matter. It is the result of a tragic decision that is affecting, among many others, the municipality of Huntingdon, where 75% of the work force is being permanently laid off overnight.

I think that, in keeping with the holiday spirit, parliamentarians will surely agree to spend a few hours longer in the House to hold this debate on the textile industry. That seems logical to me. We cannot deny this opportunity to those who have just learned the worst news anyone can get 15 days before Christmas, in other words, that they have lost their job and come to the end of their career. We want to question the government about this. No measures have been implemented yet to help these industries suffering from the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I am confident that you will allow this emergency debate to be held, given the extreme urgency of the situation and also the fact that the House will not be able to consider this matter again before the end of January, when the House resumes. I am confident that the Chair will agree that our work, which normally would have continued until Friday, can at least continue until later this evening. In many cases, it is a matter of survival for the people of Huntingdon and others in the industry. We must question the government before the holidays.

Request for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

I must point out to the House that a debate on this issue, as well as a motion in concurrence were already included in the report tabled in this House by the Standing Committee on Finance on November 30. The importance of the issue raised by the hon. member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean is obvious. I think I will have to take this under advisement. I will get back to the House later today with a ruling on the request just received.

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Avalon Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

R. John Efford Liberalfor the Minister of the Environment

moved that Bill C-15, an act to amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, be read the third time and passed.

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to the House today and add my comments to those already voiced about Bill C-15, this important initiative that would help prevent the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of seabirds every year across our coasts.

As has been indicated by my colleagues, I too am seeking to prevent the deaths of murres, puffins, great black-backed gulls and many other species of seabirds every winter as a result of the intentional or negligent illegal release of oil from some ships into marine waters.

In amending the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act as proposed in Bill C-15, which is before us for third reading, we would be making important improvements to the enforcement regime in marine waters and ultimately preventing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of birds.

In particular, Bill C-15 would allow us to increase the ability to enforce provisions in these two seminal pieces of environmental legislation in Canada's exclusive economic zone. It would enhance the capacity of these two laws to protect our species and our environment and, at the end of the day, to protect us all.

Achieving the sustainability of our environment is why we have worked so hard on environmental legislation in this country. This is why we have led the way on international efforts and are known for that leadership. This is why we need to act now to deal with the ongoing pollution of our waters that threatens many species of seabirds. We would be able to put significant fines in place that would stop the illegal discharge of oily bilge waters from ships, which is threatening natural resources in our coastal waters.

The dumping of oil into water is avoidable. Many ships travel through Canadian waters far from the sight of land. It has not been easy to determine which ships are responsible for the many discharges of oil into marine waters. For this reason, some ship operators who pollute may think they will never get caught.

Furthermore, without laws providing for fines that are proportionate to the environmental cost, some members of the shipping industry may believe it costs less to risk the fine than it does to discharge their oily bilge waters before they arrive in port. We need to stop such practices.

Bill C-15 would increase the maximum fines for such pollution offences so that they are more in keeping with those of the United States.

The result should be that ships that pass through Canadian waters to dump oily bilge waters before proceeding to U.S. waters, where enforcement has been much stricter and fines much higher, would be deterred from dumping illegally into our marine environment.

Bill C-15 would put in place other provisions to ensure valid ships' records and to require equipment to avoid environmental pollution.

We can make sure that some of the worst perpetrators discover that they cannot get away with dumping oily bilge waters off Canadian coasts any longer without suffering consequences for those actions.

Not only does the Government of Canada intend to improve surveillance through satellite technology, the fines available upon passage of Bill C-15 will be a strong deterrent to illegal action.

After careful deliberations over Bill C-15, the Standing Committee on the Environment strongly supported the proposed bill with one amendment. I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of the Standing Committee on the Environment for all the work that they put into this legislation.

We heard my hon. colleague speak of the minimum fines of $300,000 on summary conviction and $500,000 on an indictable offence that would be imposed if ships over 5,000 tonnes violate the amended Migratory Birds Convention Act and pollute illegally.

Large ships over 5,000 tonnes should be expected to have modern and effective oil management systems. Shipping, as everyone in the House is aware, is big business, and the non-compliant companies that operate large ships must respect the polluter pays principle and provide the means to reduce or eliminate polluting activities involving their vessels. Those who do not abide by the rules will be penalized, should be penalized and ought to be penalized.

Bill C-15 deserves support in the House. I also urge support for the amendment by the Minister of Environment that the minimum fines for polluting ships over 5,000 tonnes be deposited directly to the environmental damages fund. This amendment will ensure that the proceeds of fines will be directed to the restoration of the damaged environment.

Fines in the case of ships exceeding 5,000 tonnes will go toward cleaning up the problem that was created in the first place. I think we all want fines to be used to reduce environmental damage. I think we want those who pollute our water and kill our birds to have to pay for the crime in ways that will have a direct benefit to our environment.

The option is consistent with the Government of Canada's philosophy of ensuring environmental sustainability, not only through its own funding but through the fines paid by those who threaten that sustainability through pollution activities.

As we can see, the committee's amendment and good work are reinforced with this further refinement, but we can put the fines imposed on floating vessels of more than 5,000 tonnes to work where they are needed. It is good policy work, good legislative work and also good practice.

Members will notice that I am referring to amendments to existing laws. Many of us here worked on these laws and were proud to enter our names in their official support.

This means that we are not creating burdens for the shipping industry and we are not changing course. Quite the opposite. With Bill C-15, we are showing that we believe in what we have on the statute books and in Canadian commitments within international agreements.

The bills shows, nevertheless, that we are ready to improve federal wildlife protection statutes and are willing to act accordingly in the best interests of migratory seabirds and cleaner marine waters. This approach adheres to the goal of protecting and maintaining biodiversity, which in fact supports human existence.

What more can I say? The value of Bill C-15 speaks for itself. We would be putting in place measures that will help achieve a robust environment as essential to a competitive economy and thus to securing Canada's place in the world. In acting today, we are endorsing that vision and giving it strength.

Bill C-15 provides the means to enforce the high standards we have set, standards of which we are very proud, standards that will make us Canadians. We find these standards in our laws. We have committed to them in international agreements. We have committed to ourselves, to our children and to their children that we will conserve biodiversity and protect our natural heritage.

For the reasons I have just recited and for the other reasons that were referred to in the previous speeches given in support of this legislation, I urge all members to support this bill.

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member talk about what this bill is going to do. As we have said before, we certainly support the bill.

I know that increasing fines will be a detriment to some degree. I am not sure exactly what the maximum fine is at present, or I do not know exactly what the largest fine imposed to date has been. I know they have been inconsequential. But I believe that if the member were to ask the Prime Minister he could probably tell him, because I believe it was one of his ships that got the heaviest fine issued so far.

I will ask the member one simple question. Does he think that simply by increasing fines we are going to stop the pollution of our waterways?

Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased my learned friend is supporting the legislation. I listened to his speech yesterday and it certainly is an important issue, not only for his province but also for my province.

He asked the question about whether the fines are large enough. My answer is that they probably are not. He asked whether they will eliminate oil pollution in Pacific and Atlantic waters. The answer, unfortunately, is probably no. The other question on whether they will be a help, my answer is, yes.

When we have fines in the magnitude of $300,000 and $500,000, and when our rules and regulations are in sync with what we see on the Atlantic coast in the United States, that is so important so there is no benefit to doing anything wrong in Canadian waters. This is an important part of the legislation but the fines, the mandatory surveillance and the satellite imaging, when everything is looked at in perspective, the legislation, although it certainly would not eliminate oil pollution on our coastal waters, it would be a big step forward, which is why I, like my learned friend, will be supporting the legislation.