Mr. Speaker, contrary to what has been said by federal and provincial authorities, while the disallowance of subsection 36(2) may change the manner of enforcing complaints with terms and conditions of licences, it would not affect the ability to impose them.
The authority to issue licences and impose terms and conditions in the licence would remain, as would the ability to enforce them through licence suspensions or cancellations. The imposition of a fine or jail term for breach of a licence condition, as opposed to suspending or cancelling the same licence, has nothing to do with the sustainability of the fishery resource or conservation.
It is not unusual for licensing schemes to be established by federal legislation under which suspension or cancellation is the sole means of enforcing licences. While the enactment of new fisheries legislation may resolve this concern, given the substantive nature of the objection as well as the similar section of other regulations, the committee considers a resolution of this issue should not be delayed any further. It has been going on since 1989.
It is not acceptable that the requirements a citizen must obey upon pain of criminal prosecution be determined by a single official who decides what will or will not include the terms and conditions of a licence. That is the issue.
If I can put on my other hat as a member of Parliament and someone who has deep respect for this place, I believe there is time. This matter is very straightforward. The government could bring forward another piece of legislation to put the enabling clause in the existing Fisheries Act. It could come to the House and I am sure it would get unanimous consent to pass all stages at one sitting. The government has the tools to do it.
Bill C-45, even if it is amended to take into account provincial licensing officials, will not happen for a long period of time. In fact, parties are already clamouring for Bill C-45 to be referred to committee before second reading because they have so many problems with it.
After all this time and delay, it is clear the tools are available to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to address this item, which has been illegal under the laws of Canada because the regulation is not enabled in the legislation. That is the legal opinion of the lawyers from the Parliament of Canada who have been assigned to our committee.
The committee's fourth report, which calls for this disallowance, was unanimously approved. This matter must be dealt with because the regulation is illegal. That is our role.
I believe the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations has done its job. It has shown good faith and given the department every opportunity to correct this error, this illegality. The government now shows that it wants more time. We will have another bill which will totally rewrite the Fisheries Act. It will take many months if not years before the bill ever gets through all the stages of the legislative process. We will be back again asking for the same disallowance.
Now is the time. I ask particularly the Bloc Québécois to consider the concerns that have been raised with regard to whether Bill C-45 addresses this matter. It is the opinion of our officials and of the officials of fisheries that Bill C-45 does not address what the committee has brought to the House. I am pleased the committee has taken this important step again.
It is the sixth time this matter has come before Parliament to be resolved. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not shown good faith over all this period of time. It is time for the House of Commons to vote on this matter to ensure that if it does not take the time to fix it now, the regulation be disallowed.