Mr. Speaker, I want to make a comment. The member for Red Deer understands the situation perfectly well, but he is a bit of a demagogue in some respects because we are in a pre-election period.
What we have to realize—especially for the benefit of those who are watching to us—is that this is not new legislation. Two other acts already exist: the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
Most of the concerns raised have been addressed and appear in these two acts. Bill C-34 proposes some amendments to these two acts. Public consultations were held for the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, and for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act as well.
Today, with Bill C-34, we are amending these two acts. We are not creating new legislation.
The member wondered why we do not impose a minimal fine and what duck hunters had to do with it and so forth. I can understand his line of questioning. The answer is that these elements are already included in the existing legislation of 1994 and 1999. These matters are already covered in these acts.
With respect to imposing a minimal fine, I will give an example. Say the hon. member for Red Deer and I, the member for Beauharnois—Salaberry, go fishing together and our boat's motor accidentally hits a sandbar and loses oil. Are we going to be fined $1 million because we had an accident?
It is the same for the family man, a crab fisher, who has a small fishing business and goes fishing with his son or daughter. It should be up to the judge applying the legislation to weigh the repercussions of the accident.
If the boat belongs to a company, the company is in a position to pay and a $1 million fine is a more severe punishment.
That is why in the legislation we cannot introduce a minimum for fines. This is a bill to amend two acts that include environmental measures related to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, which addresses hunters and an entire range of stakeholders in the field of nature.
I understand. Our colleague from Red Deer might be frustrated because consultations were not as open and extensive as in the case of a piece of legislation with broad impact. However, consultations were held in 1994 on the 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act and also in 1999 on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
What we are doing today with Bill C-34 is making amendments to give more teeth to the law. We thought we had the necessary tools under the existing laws. We thought we would be able to pursue people without restriction and punish them. However, when we were tried to make a case, we found that loopholes in the legislation prevented us from getting a conviction
Yes, we are rectifying this situation by amending the legislation. This is not a new act. The bill does not make substantive changes to the 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act or the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It amends the two acts I just mentioned.
As far as the Americans are concerned, I understand certain things. The United States is what it is, and Canada is what it is. We have our own sovereignty, our own Canadian values. We see things differently, and we always try to—